Marine Gunnery Sgt. Kyle Wetter was driving home from work at Camp Pendleton, California, on the evening of December 7 when he saw the car in front of him suddenly burst into flames.
“All I could think at first was what the heck happened?” Wetter, the formal marksmanship training center staff noncommissioned officer with Marine Corps Installations West, said in a press release about the accident.
The car had run over a gas can that had fallen out of a nearby truck.
“Immediately, I was like I need to help them any way I can,” Wetter said in the release.
Wetter along with Anthony Hurly, the driver of the car that caught fire, immediately pulled to the side of the road.
The Marine ran to the car, assessing the situation and attempted to use a fire extinguisher on the growing flames, the release said.
After failing to douse the fire, Wetter heard a child screams coming from inside the car along with the mother calling for her trapped baby.
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The 18-month-old baby was in car seat in the back of the car. Hurly, the baby’s father, was attempting to disengage the seat, but even with Wetter’s help the seat was stuck.
Wetter then attempted to undo the seatbelt, but again failed to free the child.
Finally, the Marine pulled out his pocketknife and cut the child free from the flaming car.
“His preparedness is what resulted in a positive outcome,” Capt. John Choi, the public information officer with North Country Fire Protection District, said in the release.
Wetter said his training as an infantry Marine helped him stay calm and “react to contact” in the chaotic situation
“We get taught at an early age in the Marine Corps to react to situations,” he added.
Hurly is just thankful someone was there to safe his family.
“I am forever grateful for Gunnery Sgt. Kyle Wetter,” Hurly said in the release. “He came at a time of need for my family.”