Group of friends pull 2 victims from burning car in Davie

Victims remain hospitalized in critical condition

By Michael Seiden - Reporter

DAVIE, Fla. - Four friends are being hailed as heroes by authorities after they rescued two crash victims from a burning car.

The friends were driving home together about 1:30 a.m. Jan. 7 when they spotted a crash in the 3600 block of Southwest 136th Avenue, near Western High School in Davie. 

"We saw a car that was wrapped around this tree," Casey Jacks, 23, said. 

"The fire is underneath the hood and there's smoke coming out already," Fernando Mensa, 23, said. 

Daniel Bermudez said the group ran toward the crash site to try to rescue the victims. 

"First thing I did was I tried the passenger door," Hunter Marquardt, 18, added. "My adrenaline was going, and I pulled on it and couldn't get it to budge."

The friends said the driver and his passenger were both trapped inside the car.

"They were in and out of consciousness," Mensa said.  

Davie police said both men who were in the car remain hospitalized in critical condition.

As the fire intensified, the Good Samaritans maintained their focus.

Jacks, who was nursing a broken foot, called 911 as Bermudez, Marquardt and Mensa frantically worked to free the critically injured victims.

"I removed the seat belt off the driver and, with the help of Hunter, we managed to remove the driver out of the car," Bermudez said. 

"I jumped in the car, trying to get the seat belt off the passenger, and the flame where the seat belt latch was a piece of metal sticking out of a dash and I was able to cut it," Marquardt said. 

Mensa said he felt around the back seat to make sure there were no other passengers. 

"I felt the back seats, closed my eyes and didn't feel anybody, and I ran out and counted 15 and 20 seconds and the car literally went up in flames," he said. 

The friends returned to the crash site on Monday, which was still covered with debris.

"It's what I would hope any human being would do for another human being," Marquardt said. 

Late last week, the friends paid a visit to the hospital, where the two men remain in the intensive care unit, unable to speak.

But they did have a chance to meet the victims' loved ones -- an encounter they described as emotional and full of gratitude. 

The cause of the crash remains under investigation.
 

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