Off-Duty Dallas Officer Pulls Woman From Burning Car


Dallas County Hospital District Police Officer Henry Vargas | Image by WFAA

Dashcam footage surfaced this week of an off-duty police officer saving a woman’s life by pulling her from a crashed burning vehicle.

In late September, Dallas County Hospital District Police Officer Henry Vargas was on his way home after his shift. While driving down Interstate 30 near Jim Miller Road he saw a vehicle in flames.

“I [saw] an explosion in front of me, [it was] just a ball of fire,” the officer explained. Vargas pulled over and noticed a 52-year-old woman stuck inside a burning truck.

First responders had not yet arrived at the scene, and Vargas ran towards the truck, knowing that time was of the essence.

“The cab was kind of crumpled in from the impact. So, there was no way to get her out right from the driver’s side,” he commented.

Vargas ran back to his vehicle and retrieved a glass breaker. He then broke the passenger-side window of the blazing vehicle and reached in to unlock the door, which he said was stuck and difficult to open, likely due to the crash’s impact.

A few bystanders joined the rescue and helped Vargas get the woman out of the truck.

“I needed that extra help to get that passenger door open,” he admitted.

They got her out just in time. Moments later, the vehicle was engulfed in flames that she likely would not have survived.

“The word ‘hero’ has been thrown out there, but I definitely don’t see myself as [a hero]. I’m just very glad and thankful that I was able to do something at that moment to help that woman,” Vargas reflected.

The woman involved in the crash, Julie Engle, is currently recovering from her injuries in the hospital but recorded a video thanking Vargas. “Hi, Mr. Vargas. I want to say thank you for saving my life … Thank you for being the angel,” she explained.

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