Camp Pendleton Marine frees trapped toddler from burning car

National

FALLBROOK, Calif. (KSWB) — A Camp Pendleton Marine stepped into harm’s way to rescue a toddler from a burning car last week in California.

Gunnery Sgt. Kyle Wetter was in the right place at the right time on Dec. 7 in Fallbrook when the car caught fire.

“From the time it happened to the time the car was fully engulfed was four or five minutes,” said Wetter, a new father of triplets.

By the time Wetter reached the car, the mother was out and the father was trying to get their 18-month old out of the car seat, which was trapped in the back of the car.

“Immediately heard the mom say her baby’s in the car,” Wetter said.

Wetter quickly jumped inside and used a knife to free the child.

“Seatbelt was locked. The dad wasn’t going to get it out as much as he tried other than taking the baby out of the seat and even at that point, the fuel tank could’ve ruptured on the car,” Wetter said. “There’s just a lot of variables that go into it that you never think about.”

North County Fire Department was on the way, but wouldn’t have made it in time to save the car, and perhaps the child.

“In this case, this family was driving with a young year-and-a-half-year-old in the back seat, resulting in the car seat being jammed, and it’s really hectic in that time, so if you didn’t have a plan, it’s really hard to divert back to, ‘How do I get this child out?'” North County Fire Capt. John Choi said.

“What I would hope is anybody in my situation would help out,” Wetter said. “We’re all in this together. This life of ours is not just a single person — you’re not in it alone. And that’s what I took away from it. If my wife and my children were in that car, I would hope there was someone like myself that was willing and able to help out.”


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