Melville fire chief saves man trapped in burning car

Posted: Updated:
WOODBURY -

An assistant fire chief from Melville says he saved a man who was trapped in a car Monday morning, just before it burst into flames.

Jason Bernfeld, 32, was driving westbound on the Northern State Parkway near Round Swamp Road shortly before 6:30 a.m. — heading to his job as a mounted NYPD officer — when he noticed a taillight in the woods.

Bernfeld pulled over and found a car turned onto its passenger side and leaning up against a tree. Only the 30-year-old driver was inside, hanging from his seatbelt, he says.

"I was inside the vehicle with him, and a fire did start underneath the driver's side dashboard," Bernfeld recalls.

He says he raced back to his car and grabbed a fire extinguisher and medical shears, sliced through the seatbelt and freed the driver right before the car burst into flames.

The victim was taken to Nassau University Medical Center, where he was treated for burns to his legs and neck and back pain.

Bernfeld says he wound up being late to work, although he "had a decent excuse."

  • Top StoriesMore>>

  • Police: Sachem North HS student died after medical incident

    Police: Sachem North HS student died after medical incident

    Tuesday, July 17 2018 10:25 AM EDT2018-07-17 14:25:17 GMT

    According to police, the 17-year-old female was at an authorized school function when she suffered a medical incident.

    According to police, the 17-year-old female was at an authorized school function when she suffered a medical incident.

  • Storm Watch: Strong storms could bring heavy rain, high winds

    Storm Watch: Strong storms could bring heavy rain, high winds

    Tuesday, July 17 2018 6:31 AM EDT2018-07-17 10:31:19 GMT

    A total of 1 to 2 inches of rain is possible with street flooding

    A total of 1 to 2 inches of rain is possible with street flooding

  • Teen accused of bringing loaded, illegal gun to hospital

    Teen accused of bringing loaded, illegal gun to hospital

    Tuesday, July 17 2018 5:48 AM EDT2018-07-17 09:48:57 GMT

    Police say 17-year-old Pouchino Alexandre, of East Meadow, was being checked out Sunday after suffering a medical problem.

    Police say 17-year-old Pouchino Alexandre, of East Meadow, was being checked out Sunday after suffering a medical problem.

  • SlideshowsSlideshowsMore>>

  • Just Married on Long Island

    Just Married on Long Island

    News 12 Long Island wants to announce your wedding. Share your pictures and videos with News 12 Long Island viewers!

    News 12 Long Island wants to announce your wedding. Share your pictures and videos with News 12 Long Island viewers!

  • Trump and Putin hold summit in Helsinki

    Trump and Putin hold summit in Helsinki

    (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)(Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

    Sights and scenes at President Donald Trump's summit with Russian President Vladimir V. Putin in Helsinki, Finland, on Monday, July 16, 2018. Images via Getty.

    Sights and scenes at President Donald Trump's summit with Russian President Vladimir V. Putin in Helsinki, Finland, on Monday, July 16, 2018. Images via Getty.

  • Surf Lodge in Montauk summer lineup

    Surf Lodge in Montauk summer lineup

    Various bands will perform at the Surf Lodge this summer.

    Visit the Surf Lodge website for more information.

    Various bands will perform at the Surf Lodge this summer.

    Visit the Surf Lodge website for more information.

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."