Off-duty firefighter uses anniversary gift to save stranger from burning vehicle

Nadine Kalinauskas
Good News
Off-duty firefighter rescues stranger with a pocket knife

Chris Carter, 44, was enjoying his day off last Sunday when he witnessed a fiery car crash.

The off-duty firefighter, wearing just a tank top, shorts and flip-flops, had only one tool on him to assist with a rescue: a walnut-handled Bone Collector pocket knife his wife gave him in May for their anniversary.

Carter, a captain with the Santa Fe Springs Fire Department, cut the driver's seat-belt to free him, then worked with another bystander and and ambulance crew to pull the unconscious driver out of the burning vehicle.

"We basically had to drag him out of the car," Carter told the Press-Enterprise.

A minute later, the vehicle was engulfed in flames.

"Not a big deal," Carter insisted on Monday, saying that he didn't want publicity for "just doing his job."

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The driver, late 20s, suffered two broken arms, a broken elbow, a compound break in one of his legs and head injuries, the Press-Enterprise reported.

Carter saved his life.

Because Carter's heroics made the paper, he now must comply with a fun firehouse rule: he has to buy ice cream for everyone.