By Steve Tawa

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Strangers who sprang into action last weekend in a tight-knight Grays Ferry neighborhood today received some well deserved recognition in City Council chambers for their roles in rescuing a Philadelphia police officer who could very well have died in the line of duty.

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As officer Mark Kimsey was responding to a priority call last Saturday evening, his police cruiser was broadsided at 28th and Tasker Streets.

Joe Chambers, a 17-year-old senior at Ridley High School, who was visiting the neighborhood that night, jumped into action as the vehicle caught fire with the officer trapped inside.

Today, Officer Kimsey, getting around on crutches, reaffirmed his gratitude for the young man who helped extract him from the burning vehicle.

“Like I keep telling everyone, he’s my hero,” Kimsey said today.   “I wouldn’t be here without him.”

Everyone in City Council chambers today rose to applaud Chambers, of Ridley Park, who says that “human instinct kicked in.”

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“If someone needs to be helped, you should help them,” he said today.   “Don’t stand and watch and videotape.”

Another bystander, 24-year-old Dante Johnson, was also instrumental in rescuing the officer by pulling him out the side window of the burning vehicle, because the door was jammed shut.

Councilmembers also recognized Christopher Gallagher and Joseph Myers, who assisted at the scene.

Philadelphia deputy police commissioner Richard Ross said the acknowledgement of these heroes is well deserved.

“It just underscores the fact that we do need each other — police and community,” Ross said.

Chambers has been a volunteer firefighter with the Leedom Fire Company, in Delaware County, for 3½ years. He has considering joining the military, and later having career as a police officer or firefighter.

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