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Off-Duty Officer Witnesses Car Crash and Burst Into Flames, Races Through Fire to Save Victims

Western Journal



Many people become first responders because helping others is something that deeply aligns with their character. The job title is just the official way of identifying the fact that they are ready to jump into dangerous situations to help people.

For those individuals, there really is no “off the clock” time, as they’re always prepared to respond first.

Officer Mark Afanasev with the Stockton Police Department is one of those people. He and his wife were out on Saturday in Rancho Cordova, California, when they witnessed a horrific car accident.

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One of the cars involved swerved into a pole and immediately erupted in a ball of fire, and like a true hero, Afanasev drove toward it, told his wife to call 911 and charged toward the blaze.

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“I realized that we had to go there to help them because there was nobody else around,” he later told KCRA-TV.

“I’ve never seen anything like that, never been part of anything like that, but the only thing that I could think of was, ‘There’s people in that car. I got to help them get out. I can’t let them, you know, burn in that car.'”

One of the people in the car, a man, was able to get out of the car on his own, but was on fire as he exited the vehicle.

A woman was also in the car but had not been able to get out, so Afanasev quickly escorted her out and away from the flames.

“Here is the video from last night for those that wanted to see it!” Mark’s wife Anna posted on Facebook. “It may be disturbing for some people (guy was on fire) so just be be aware!”

The Afanasevs were stopped at a traffic light that was taking longer than usual due to a recent retiming — which Mark mentioned in the video. Had it not been for that extra little bit of time they waited in the intersection, they might have passed before the accident took place and been unable to help.

“I feel like God put us in that position for a specific reason,” Mark acknowledged. “This is something that is just part of me to help somebody out, especially in something like this, where I’m the only one there.”

Anna echoed the belief that they were there providentially.

“We definitely believe He had greater plans for us being there for an abnormally long period of time!” she commented on her post.

According to another one of her comments, the man suffered some burns and injured his arm, but “was responsive and conscious.” She also said that her husband “is not one to seek attention or even tell anyone about this but I couldn’t help but share because I saw a different side of him yesterday and it made me appreciate him and his heart so much more!”

Miraculously, no one died in the accident even though the other car flipped several times. Many are calling Mark a hero now, and his actions are receiving widespread commendation.

“On the evening of Saturday, July 17th 2021, off duty Stockton Police Officer Mark Afanasev and his wife were driving when they witnessed a fiery accident,” a Facebook post by the Support Stockton Police Foundation read.

“With no regard for his own safety, Officer Afanasev ran through the fire to assist the two victims. Without the quick response of Officer Afanasev the results could have been more disastrous. Thank you Officer Afanasev for your heroism, on and off duty.”

“I mean every single officer that I know of, every law enforcement officer, every firefighter, every paramedic would have done the exact same thing that I did, given those circumstances, if they were in that position,” Mark argued, “they would do the exact same thing.”

The officer is denying any claim to the “hero” title, but perhaps that’s just because helping people is in his nature.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.


Family Escapes Through 2nd-Story Window During Armed Standoff After Suspect Barricades Door: Report

Western Journal



On July 25, in Auburn, Alabama, a man reportedly put his family, his neighborhood, first responders and himself in a very dangerous position. Calls came into the Auburn Police District around 7:00 p.m. reporting a domestic violence incident in the Camden Ridge Subdivision. When police arrived, the man reportedly began firing at them with a handgun. Police fired back, and the man retreated into the home, where he also had his family trapped in a room. Thanks to the police and fire department coming together and working smarter instead of harder, the situation was resolved without injury to the family members trapped upstairs. It was firefighter Andrew Kiser, Chief of Police Cedric Anderson and Shift Supervisor Lt. Cody Hill who were responsible for carrying out the daring rescue that helped bring the threat to an end. While the shooter refused to exit the house, the men carried a ladder to the house and set it up to reach one of the second-story windows, where they learned the man’s family had been trapped. While Anderson held the ladder steady, Hill climbed the ladder and Kiser assisted the family as they climbed out of the window. With the family out of the way, Lee County SWAT was able to enter the house and capture the suspect. He was taken to Baptist Medical Center South after he was found to have sustained what appeared to be a gunshot wound. “Auburn PD Alerts: Heavy Police Activity in the Camden Ridge Subdivision, in the area of Wedgewood Ct.,” a public safety alert for the area read, according to WRBL-TV. “The scene is secure at this time, NO ONGOING THREAT.” Auburn Assistant Police Chief Clarence Stewart praised the efforts of all involved, highlighting how each group present played an important role in…

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After Receiving Call About Blazing Attic Fire, Police Rescue Man Trapped Inside Smoke-Filled Bedroom

Western Journal



A family in Marlboro Township, New Jersey, woke up just before midnight on Sunday and sensed something was wrong. They called 911 at around 11:38 p.m., reporting a “possible fire at the residence,” according to The Journal NJ. Officers Ryan Anzalone, Donna Gonzalez, Michael Morgante and Colin Murray with the Marlboro Township Police Department were first on the scene and quickly assessed the situation. They found smoke pouring out of the attic, but were relieved to see the family appeared to have exited the home. After a short time, though, the family realized one of their members was not with them, and was likely still trapped inside on the second floor. Gonzalez and Anzalone charged in and found the man, as described, in a bedroom on the second floor. By the time they got there, the room was “completely filled with smoke,” but they managed to rescue the resident. The fire department had a difficult time accessing the home due to the long, narrow driveway and a large landscaping rock. “While enroute Chief 2-66 was advised of heavy smoke from the attic,” the Robertsville Volunteer Fire Co. #1 posted on Facebook. “At the time the mutual aid response plan was put in place and the box alarm was requested to bring in initial assistance.” “Upon the arrival of 2-66 Chief advised the house was located down a 180 foot narrow driveway. Once engine 2-75 arrived there was trouble accessing the house due to a large ornamental boulder and trees. Members of the engine and police moved the 400lb boulder so the engine could get to the house and attack the fire. “As the incident progressed, the second alarm mutual aid plan was requested for this deep seated, hard to access attic fire.” The two officers who…

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