By Robin Rieger
OCEAN COUNTY, NJ (CBS) – On Monday night, two Ocean County police officers risked injury to save a man from a burning vehicle, and the whole thing was captured on tape.
According to the Barnegat Township Police Department, Officer Lauren Keilitz and Officer Michael Diblasi responded to reports of a car fire on Biscayne Road at about 8:45 p.m.
“In this job, you know it’s going to be a split second decision,” said Officer Keilitz, who can be seen on video running–without hesitation–to a burning car in a driveway on Biscayne Road.
“Is anyone in there?!” Keilitz can be heard asking on the videotape.
Shortly after arriving at the car, she and Officer Diblasi learned that Mario Dischiavi, 57, was incapacitated in the driver’s seat of the vehicle, which was fully engulfed in flames.
At first, Keilitz couldn’t see anyone through thick smoke, but “then the interior light came on, and there was a person in the driver’s seat,” Keilitz explained. “He seemed incoherent. He didn’t seem aware the car was on fire.”
Despite the flames and heavy smoke pouring out of the vehicle, Officers Keilitz and Diblasi were able to gain entry into the vehicle and pull Dischiavi, who had fallen asleep inside his car, to safety.
Dischiavi was transported to Southern Ocean Medical Center with smoke inhalation, where he was treated and released.
“He said, ‘I just remember sitting in the car listening to Johnny Cash, and next thing I know, somebody was pulling me out,’” said Keilitz.
Officer Keilitz, a wife, the mother of a three year old daughter and an eight year veteran of the force, was uninjured.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
WEB EXTRA: Watch The Dramatic Dashboard Camera Footage