Man who lost both legs in truck fire thanks officer for saving h - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Man who lost both legs in truck fire thanks officer for saving him

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An emotional award ceremony at the Maricopa County Medical Center Wednesday.

A man who was trapped in a burning car in Scottsdale got the chance to publicly thank the police officer who saved his life.

It happened on March 5. Hartley Johnson and his wife were visiting the valley from their home in Payson. They were driving in Scottsdale when their truck hit a curb, rolled over, and caught fire. Nearby drivers started calling 911.

911 caller: "We're at Cactus and Frank Lloyd Wright, we got an overturned vehicle on fire, one thrown from the vehicle, one trapped inside."

Hartley Johnston was the one trapped inside his truck that burst into flames after hitting a curb and flipping over.

Johnson's wife Rena was thrown from the truck, but when Scottsdale police officer Patrick Hinsberg got there, Hartley was trapped inside between two seats, and he was burning alive.

"I did what any human being would have done, not a cop would have done, any human being. Kind of hard to watch another person suffer so I just went into rescue mode," said Scottsdale Police Officer Patrick Hinsberg.

Officer Hinsberg went to the back window of the truck that had been smashed out, and managed to reach in through the smoke and flames and grab Johnson's upper body.

"Just with every strength I had just started pulling, pulling and pulling and somehow managed to get him from between the two seats. He was unconscious and clothing was still on fire."

But he was alive. The Maricopa Burn Center staff kept him alive, though he was very badly burned. He lost his legs due to the fire, but hopes to walk again.

"Really crazy, a nightmare. it turned out good, I'm still here thanks Patrick for saving me," said Johnson.

Today the Johnsons' focus was on thanking the man who saved his life. It was a poignant moment.

"He will tell you he was just doing his job, but let me tell you in the academy there is no class in fighting fire, to go in and rescue some kid trapped in a truck burning to death. There is no class for that so this was above and beyond the call of duty. Thank you," said Dr. Marc Matthews, Maricopa Medical Center Burn Unit.

Doctors say they want to see Hartley Johnson walk again, but right now, money is an issue. Because the family has no insurance, they are facing monstrous hospital bills, and paying for two prosthetic legs is going to be tough for the family.

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