CPD officers rescue 2 from fiery wreck in Gage Park

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Friday, April 3, 2015
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Chicago police officers rescued two men from a burning car after a head-on collision on the city's Southwest Side.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Two Chicago police officers rescued two men from a burning car after a head-on collision on the city's Southwest Side.

Chicago Police Officers Hector Fuentes and Peter Gurskis were on patrol in Chicago's Gage Park neighborhood around 1:20 a.m. Friday when they saw a Chevrolet Aveo swerve into the southbound lanes and crash head-on into a truck on South Kedzie Avenue near 57th Street.

The car burst into flames, trapping the two men inside. Officers Fuentes and Gurskis knew they were racing against time.

"You see it in the movies, like a car explodes. I've never seen a car explode on impact like that. It certainly did this time. It's just one of those things, you go into action," Officer Gurskis said.

"We saw the driver was pinned in. So my partner and I, we forced the door down as much as we could and we pulled the driver out," Officer Fuentes said.

"We bent the door as much as we could. We pulled the driver out and then the passenger. He wasn't trapped in there so bad. We were able to tug him out as much as we could and drag him out before the car totally engulfed in flames," Officer Gurskis said.

The victims are recovering at Mount Sinai Hospital. The driver, Jose Silva, 20, has knee and leg injuries. His passenger underwent surgery to relieve swelling of his brain.

"We're still praying for Francisco. Last I heard he's still in surgery," Silva's father said. "This police department didn't even question it. Just went in there and saved my son."

No other injuries were reported.

Investigators are looking into the cause of the crash.

Fuentes and Gurskis are both 17-year veterans of the Chicago Police Department. They've been partners for 15 years.

"I don't think we would've done anything different than any other officer from this department. That's what we do. That's what we're out here for, and I believe any other brother or sister officer would've done the same thing," Officer Gurskis said.