Navy vet rescues Air Force vet from burning car

James Rosprim's neighbor hit a gas line with his car causing an explosion

SAN ANTONIO – A Navy veteran pulled a man from a burning car Friday after the man hit a gas line with his car.

James Rosprim said he had just arrived at his northeast side home near the intersection of Valley Forge Ave. and Constitution St. when he heard an explosion.

Fire officials said Rosprim's neighbor, Joe Monaco, was trying to park his car in his garage when he accidentally stepped on the gas pedal.

"The vehicle went through the garage. It appears they struck the gas line feeding the house, caught the house, the car, and the neighboring house on fire," said Assistant Chief Robert Mikel of the San Antonio Fire Department.

"There was a big fireball and the lady that lives there comes running out yelling, ‘Fire, fire, fire. He's still trapped in the car,'" Rosprim said.

Having served 12 years as a hospital corpsman in the Navy, Rosprim's training immediately kicked in and he rushed to help Monaco.

"(Flames) were starting at the back of the car working their way up," he said. "I could hear him say, ‘It's a full tank of gas. It's a full tank of gas.'

Knowing that another explosion could occur, Rosprim pulled Monaco out of the passenger side of the car and rushed him to safety.

Crews arrived shortly after and extinguished the fire at Monaco's home and the home next door, which also caught on fire.

Firefighters managed to pull some of the family's prized possessions from the home, including pictures of Monaco in his Air Force uniform.

Rosprim said he did not know Monaco was an Air Force veteran, but he said helping a fellow service member made his heroic actions even more meaningful.

He said he was just doing his job.

"Between the multiple deployments, this is what we train to do every day," Rosprim said.

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