Wisconsin firefighters rush to rescue man trapped in burning van, dramatic video shows

Dramatic video released Thursday showed Wisconsin firefighters rescuing an unconscious man trapped inside a van engulfed in flames.

Video from the July 18 fire in West Allis showed crews working quickly to get the man out of the vehicle as the flames raged.

“Our crews quickly ran over to the car, broke the window with an ax and saw the gentleman in the front seat was still seat belted in the car and was unconscious,” West Allis Fire Department assistant chief EMS Kurt Zellmann told FOX6 Now.

At first, firefighters struggled to get the door open. Three firefighters managed to surround the car and were able to open the door from the inside. The problem, Zellman said, was that while the man was unconscious he had his foot on the accelerator, which probably caused the engine to overheat and ignite in flames.

“I believe it was three firemen went and pulled a man out and we were really upset because we did not know anybody was in there,” one neighbor who was watching the rescue told the station.

The man was dragged to safety and only suffered minor cuts and bruises, FOX6 Now reported.

“Within a number of seconds, the windows would have failed and the fire would have gone into the cabin,” Zellmann said. “With him unconscious, it's pretty unlikely he would have been able to get out himself.”

The man wasn’t immediately named. Officials only said he was 60 years old and had been drinking at the time of the fire. He was cited for operating while intoxicated.