March 15, 2023 “I just did what any other officer would have done,” said Southfield Police Officer Patrick McCormick about braving flames to rescue an unresponsive man inside a burning car following a crash.
By Hannah Mackay Source The Detroit News Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
SOUTHFIELD, MI—Police Officer Patrick McCormick with the Southfield Police Department was honored Tuesday morning for his efforts to pull an unconscious man from a burning vehicle after a serious car crash in the area of Eight Mile and Northland Drive Saturday night.
The victim was transported to Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak and later succumbed to his injuries Sunday afternoon.
“I just did what any other officer would have done,” McCormick said. “I saw a person in need of help and all I could think about doing is to try to get to him and to pull them out of the car as fast as I could so that I can give him some chance in life.”
A red Ford Edge was traveling West Eight Mile Road at a high rate of speed and disregarded a red traffic signal, Southfield Police Chief Elvin Barren said at the Tuesday news conference. A silver Ford Edge was crossing west Eight Mile Road from East Eight Mile onto Northland drive on a green traffic signal when the cars collided around 11:36 p.m.
Occupants were trapped inside both vehicles and the red Ford Edge was “fully engulfed in flames,” when first responders arrived, Barren said. Multiple concerned citizens were already on the scene and helping to remove the driver of the blazing red Ford Edge, Barren said.
“Officer Patrick McCormick… was able to locate an unresponsive passenger, front seat passenger, and he ultimately removed him from the vehicle,” Barren said. “This vehicle was fully engulfed in flames. This officer, his training kicked in and he showed a lot of bravery here.”
Multiple citizens used fire extinguishers and their own clothing to smother the fire until rescue personnel arrived on the scene, Barren said.
“One particular person who actually went and ran and got a fire extinguisher from a gas station and was assisting me so I could actually get inside that vehicle to pull that individual out of the fire,” McCormick said.
McCormick, who has been with the department for four years, was awarded the Southfield Fire Chief’s award for putting his life on the line to save another and the Southfield Police challenge coin, a badge awarded for excellence. Southfield Police and Fire departments plan to have an award ceremony to honor the civilians who assisted at the scene.
“His (McCormick’s) actions that day… showed above and beyond the call of duty,” Southfield Fire Chief Johnny Menifee said. “I’m sure he didn’t sign on to fight fires or to deal with fire incidents, but because of his actions that night, you gave this citizen a chance for recovery.”
The driver of the silver Ford Edge was also removed from the smoking vehicle by police and the driver of the red Ford Edge was transported to Detroit Medical Center Sinai Grace Hospital and treated for critical injuries.