Athens-Clarke County officer praised as hero for saving man from burning car

ATHENS, Ga. — An Athens-Clarke County police officer risked everything when he responded to a call of a car on fire. His body camera caught the whole thing on video.%



Senior Police Officer Dan Whitney was called out the wreck on Highway 29 about 3 a.m. Aug. 18.

"We got a bad wreck out here in front of my house. ... This car gonna blow up, I believe. ... Hurry, man, or this car gonna blow up!" a called told and Athens-Clarke County 911 dispatcher.

"I ain't going to it," the caller says. "It's going to blow up. God! Somebody in it. ... Come on!"

As Whitney pulled up to the scene, the whole front of the wrecked car was engulfed in flames.


The video shows Whitney run to the back of his police cruiser and grab a fire extinguisher, and then runs toward the burning car.

The body cam shows a man sticking outside of a side window of the car, screaming for help.

Whitney tries to put the flames out with the extinguisher, but it’s too much.

"I need a fire extinguisher or a garden hose. Get a garden hose!" Whitney screams to nearby neighbors.

Whitney was eventually able to get the man free. He was one of two people inside the car. The driver of the car died from the wreck.

"Without Whitney's rescue, the passenger likely would have suffered the same tragic death as the driver, as the back seat was completely melted and gutted within minutes," police said.