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News

HEROES: Ridgefield Park Officers Rescue Trapped Driver In Burning Car

Ridgefield Park Police Officers Nick D'Alto and Anthony D'Elia, Sgt. Nick Triano
Ridgefield Park Police Officers Nick D'Alto and Anthony D'Elia, Sgt. Nick Triano Photo Credit: CONTRIBUTED

Flames are rapidly spreading as Ridgefield Park police officers furiously try to pull a trapped Fort Lee driver from his burning sedan, dramatic bodycam video shows.

An electrical malfunction ignited the front of 55-year-old Christopher Vagnone’s Honda Accord outside Mavis Discount Tire on Route 46 (Winant Avenue) shortly before 2 a.m. Saturday, Police Chief Joseph Rella said.

Unable to open the car doors, Sgt. Nicholas Triano retrieved a Halligan bar and smashed the driver’s side window, the chief said.

Officers Anthony D'Elia and Nicholas D'Alto joined him in trying to remove Vagnone through the window, but the intense flames and heat pushed them back, Rella said.

Using extinguishers helped douse the flames enough for them to get the IT analyst out through the passenger side, he said.

A passing good Samaritan, Elias Rodriguez of New York, NY, stopped and assisted the officers, the chief noted.

The officers dragged Vagnone a safe distance away and administered first aid as village firefighters doused the blaze.

Police released Vagnone to a family member at the scene, Rella said.

The officers battled “intense heat, broken glass and a host of physical barriers” to rescue Vagnone “without regard for their own personal safety," the chief said. "They did a great job. We’re very proud.”

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