A highway patrol officer was driving along the main highway that cuts through the seaside town of Monterey, California, when the unthinkable happened: An explosion of smoke and flames came billowing out from underneath the hood of the car ahead of him.
Turning on his lights, he signaled for the driver to pull over as flaming, smoking pieces of the car fell onto the road. The driver pulled off the highway and into the parking lot of a nearby hotel with dark clouds of smoke still curling out from underneath the hood, enveloping the car.
The passenger dashed out of the car, then tried but failed to open the back door to pull out the two toddlers still trapped in their car seats. The CHP officer, Kaleo Clissold, didn’t even realize the children were back there until he started yelling for the driver to get out – which she was only able to do by crawling over to the passenger side, since her own door wouldn’t open.
Clissold dove in twice to rescue the screaming 1-year-old boy and 2-year-old girl. Thanks to him, they were unharmed. He even comforted the children afterwards, telling the little girl that the oxygen mask is “like playing dress up.”
Vern Fisher, a photographer with the Monterey County Herald, was in the car directly behind Clissold and captured the dramatic rescue in the video below.
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