A 27-year-old San Angelo man was rescued from a burning vehicle early Mother’s Day morning by one of San Angelo’s Police Sergeants.
Just before 12:30 a.m. this morning, Sgt. Daniel Williams was on patrol when he heard dispatch broadcast a call about a vehicle fire at 16th and Magdalen Streets. Sgt. Williams responded and located a 1998 Plymouth Breeze stopped at the stop sign. The vehicle’s passenger compartment was filled with smoke and flames were coming from the engine area.
Sgt. Williams retrieved his fire extinguisher and quickly approached the vehicle when he heard a witness say they were not sure if anyone was inside the car. When Sgt. Williams reached the vehicle, he observed an arm hanging from the driver’s side window. The driver, later identified as Richard Montanez, did not respond to Sgt. Williams’ calls.
Sgt. Williams entered the vehicle, observed flames emitting from the floorboard around Montanez’s feet, and pulled Montanez to safety. Sgt. Williams then returned to the burning vehicle to see if any additional occupants were trapped, but no one else was inside.
A witness who called 9-1-1 told police she observed Montanez’s vehicle stopped at the stop sign for about an hour before she heard the vehicle’s engine rev for several minutes followed by a pop, then smoke and flames.
A disoriented Montanez later told police he was not aware of any vehicle issues that would have started the fire. Montanez was released to the care of a family member who was called to the scene.
San Angelo Fire Marshal Steppe was called to the scene to conduct an origin and cause investigation.
"I'm proud of Sgt. Williams' selfless act. Because he put himself in a dangerous situation, Mr. Montanez survived. We will investigate why the vehicle was at the stop sign for one hour. I'm glad everyone is safe," said Tim Vasquez, Police Chief