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article imageDramatic rescue of man in burning car caught on video

By Arthur Weinreb     Jun 18, 2016 in World
Cupertino - A man on his way to lunch dragged a man from a parked car emitting thick black smoke moments before the vehicle burst into flames. Police suspected the man in the car was drunk.
On June 11, Aram Harutyunyan and his friend, Leo Pekker, were at the Rose Garden, a strip mall in Cupertino, California planning to have lunch. While in the parking lot, Harutyunyan noticed a black vehicle parked in front of a bank. The driver's door was open and the driver's leg was partially out. Thick black smoke was rising from the front of the car.
There were others in the Rose Garden parking lot at the time. They either moved away, went about their normal business, or stood around and watched. Harutyunyan figured the car was close to bursting into flames and knew he had to do something. While his friend filmed him, Harutyunan walked up to the car and dragged the semi-conscious man out. From the video Pekker later posted on YouTube, when Harutyunan reached the car, flames could be seen underneath the vehicle's front end. As he predicted, right after he removed the man the vehicle did burst into flames.
Shortly after the dramatic rescue, fire and police showed up. The flames were extinguished and the driver was arrested.
The Mercury News reports Harutyunyan said the scariest part was the hissing sound the car was making. He believes others in the parking lot were too afraid to approach the vehicle but Harutyunyan realized he had to do something. He rightly predicted the man did not have much time.
KTVU reports Sgt. James Jensen of the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office as saying the sheriff's office want to give Harutyunyan a commendation for his heroics and bravery. But like many heroes, Harutyunyan denies he is one. He said he only did what he had to do.
The man in the car has been identified as Aman Matoo, 43 and witnesses said he was revving the engine prior to the car catching on fire. According to police, Matoo, who has previous convictions for DUI, was "highly intoxicated" and was charged with DUI as well as two counts of arson. He was released on bail the next day. Security video from the bank he parked in front of showed him leaving the car and returning with a bottle.
After Harutyunyan's act of bravery, he did what he had come to the Rose Garden to do; he had lunch with Pekker. As of last night, the video Pekker posted on YouTube has been viewed more than 1.6 million times.
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