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Rescuer comes forward but declines public recognition
car fire rescue

The Good Samaritan who pulled a man from a fiery vehicle has been identified, but wishes to remain anonymous, the Turlock Police Department reported.

Just after midnight on April 14, the Turlock Fire Department was dispatched to the 200 block of D Street after multiple calls reported a vehicle fire. Two of the callers stated they were alerted to the fire from a loud boom caused by the tires popping from the intense heat.

The first firefighters to arrive at the scene found the vehicle fully engulfed in flames. The firefighters also found a man in the alley way with severe burn injuries.

Video surveillance obtained from the area showed that the burn victim had been in the backseat of the vehicle and that he was pulled out of it by an unknown rescuer. The rescuer tries both back doors, but is unable to reach the man, so he opens the hatch door and pulls the man out.

The Good Samaritan did not remain on scene and detectives had been trying to identify him. The man told investigators he decided to come forward after being urged to do so by a friend who learned of his courageous actions.

“We were honored to have met and been able to personally thank this hero who risked his own life for another," said Turlock Police Detective Brandon Bertram, who is the lead investigator on the case. "He saved the victim’s life with no regard for his own safety and well-being. The man said he just knew it was the right thing to do. He refused our repeated requests to recognize him publicly for his bravery and heroism.”

The burn victim has been identified as Robert Arndt by his father Daniel Arndt, of Mishawaka, Indiana. He said his son had been experiencing homelessness recently and was living in his vehicle.

Robert Arndt was airlifted to a burn unit in Sacramento with severe burns to his face, hands, feet and back. He is currently in a medically-induced coma as his body begins the recovery process.

The cause and origin of the fire still has not been determined but arson is not suspected.

Daniel Arndt, who is disabled, is hoping to come to Sacramento to be with his son and has started a GoFundMe account to help cover the expenses. The link is

The Turlock Police Department asks that anyone with information about this investigation call Detective Brandon Bertram at (209) 664-7323. You can also contact the Turlock Police Department’s Tip Line at (209) 668-5550 extension 6780 or email at