Officer who rescued woman from fiery crash: 'I wasn't gonna let her burn.'

St. Mary's University police Sgt. Ken Hamilton recalls harrowing moments

SAN ANTONIO, Texas – An officer with the St. Mary’s University Police Department says he was “just doing his job” when he rescued a woman from a burning car early Wednesday.

Sgt. Ken Hamilton actually was off duty, on his way home from work around 3 a.m., when he came upon the scene on Bandera Road near Evers Road.

“I see some flames on the side of the road. I slowed down and looked and realized it was a car up on its side and it was on fire,” he said.

Hamilton, who has worked in law enforcement for the past 27 years, says he just did what came naturally -- stopped his truck and got out to help.

Two other men who had gotten there just before him told him there was a woman trapped inside and they were not able to get her out.

He then tried to break a window.

“I started with my asp -- my baton -- and that wasn't going very well. It was just cutting a hole and the flames were getting bigger,” Hamilton said. “So one of the young men asks me if I wanted a rock. He comes back with a piece of concrete.”

Using that slab of concrete and kicking with his feet, Hamilton says he finally was able to shatter the windshield.

“I had to reach back in over her door and cut her seat belt,” he said. “I wasn't gonna let her burn. Not while I was there. That was all that was going through my brain.”

He says he pulled the woman out of the car just as the flames were reaching her feet.

Within two minutes, the entire car had become engulfed in flames, he says.

According to San Antonio police officers at the scene, the woman suffered only minor injuries and was taken to a hospital by ambulance.

Despite what he did to save her, though, Hamilton says he doesn’t consider himself a hero.

“I was just doing my job,” he said, humbly.

About the Authors:

Katrina Webber joined KSAT 12 in December 2009. She reports for Good Morning San Antonio. Katrina was born and raised in Queens, NY, but after living in Gulf Coast states for the past decade, she feels right at home in Texas. It's not unusual to find her singing karaoke or leading a song with her church choir when she's not on-air.

Tim has been a photojournalist and video editor at KSAT since 1998. He came to San Antonio from Lubbock, where he worked in TV and earned his bachelor's degree in Electronic Media and Communication from Texas Tech University. Tim has won a handful of awards and has earned a master's in Strategic Communication and Innovation from Tech as well.