An 11-year-old girl trapped in the backseat of her mother’s car after a collision in Graham was pulled from the burning vehicle moments before the car became engulfed in flames, authorities said.
She has a Pierce County sheriff’s deputy and off-duty Tukwila police commander to thank for the harrowing rescue.
It started just after 5 p.m. Saturday when a speeding driver rear-ended the back of the mother’s Honda CRV in the 8200 block of 224th Street East, according to Graham Fire & Rescue.
Todd Rossi, an off-duty Tukwila commander, drove by the wreckage and stopped to pull the unconscious mother out of the front seat.
Bystanders tried to get the child out of the backseat but were unable to free her because the doors were jammed.
Pierce County sheriff’s deputy Fred Wiggins then happened to drive by the scene and stopped, noticing one of the three involved vehicles in the collision was catching fire.
He grabbed a fire extinguisher from his patrol car and started to spray the Honda as Rossi used a knife to cut the seat belt off the unconscious girl.
Rossi carried her away from the burning car minutes before the vehicle was completely engulfed in flames.
Both the girl and mother were taken to an area hospital with serious injuries.
Three people in the car that rear-ended the Honda were treated for minor injuries.
In a Facebook post, the Sheriff’s Department called Rossi a hero: “Thank you Commander Rossi for your bravery in the community where you live and where we serve.”