Police Officer Honored For Pulling Man From Burning Van

CHICAGO (CBS) — The scene on the Stevenson Expressway last week was like a movie, but van going up in flames was real and dangerous.

Now, Chicago Police Officer Claudio Salgado is being called a hero for pulling a man from the burning vehicle, seconds before it exploded.

The van was parked near the Stevenson northbound ramp to the Dan Ryan Expressway Tuesday, and it was on fire. The van’s owner, a welder in his 60s, was trying to save his tools because they weren’t covered by insurance.

Salgado was in full uniform on his way to work for the afternoon watch when he saw the burning van.

There were compressed oxygen tanks in the van, so Salgado had to act quickly.

“I was screaming at him that we have to leave the area – we have to leave before the vehicle exploded,” Salgado said.

The welder, Peter O’Hagan, expressed gratitude at a news conference over the weekend.

“If it weren’t for him, I don’t know where I’d be today,” O’Hagan said.

But Salgado said he was only acting out his responsibility as a police officer.

“It’s just my duty,” he said. “We serve and protect the community, and we do this because it’s part of the job – and that’s why I’m very proud to be a Chicago Police officer.”

Salgado, a native of Chile, has been on the force for four years.

When he’s not saving lives, Salgado is working on a doctorate in clinical psychology.

  • ChicagoCitizen

    This kind of heroism is typical for the Cicago Police. Excellent job, the CPD rules!

  • Need more and Not enough..

    Always helps to have a positive story covered by the media instead of the consistent negative ones about our brothers in blue. Wish I could see more stories like this because they do happen every day. The media just happens to focus more on posting the ‘controversial’ stories of the C.P.D.. I’m tired of seeing headline titles that read, “Chicago police involved in shooting” followed up with content that reads gun or multiple guns recovered on scene near alledgedly armed subject, and always ending with IPRA investigating. It would be nice to read an article that wasn’t always catering to the ‘alledgedly’ armed individuial. How about this headline “Fleeing man ‘alledgedly’ armed with gun shot by police after pointing such weapon at responding officers” with content stating weapons recovered near suspect. Thanks to swift police action a possibly dangerous individual (who go figure just so happens to have an extensive criminal history) was removed from the streets. The top cop is not the only one responsible for building morale on this dept., the media unfortunately has the power to help or hinder this problem as well. And it is truly unfortunate that they choose to focus more on the negative when involving the C.P.D..

  • joecollege

    hey CH 2, this is a positive law enforcement story, you only usually cover the officers that are charged with crimes, racially profile or use excessive force on citizens?

    • Gary

      Almost all of those stories are nothing more than a load of BS!!!

  • Patricio Salas Carcamo

    Felicidades Claudio. Que sorpresa mas grata verte en tv aca en chile, no sé si leas este mensaje pero me da mucha alegria saber que haces de las tuyas alla en gringolandia. Un abrazo y espero que estes bien. Patricio, La cisterna, Santiago. Hasta la vista baby…. jajaja
    Pd: dificil que leas este comentario…pero igual!!! bye..

    • Rene L. Laude

      Patricio Salas,
      Su mensaje no sólo lo ha leído Claudio Salgado sino toda la comunidad latina y en especial la chilena. Aquí todos igual que usted, contentos por nuestro compatriota. Él es nuestro orgullo.

      René Laude

  • Jorge Pérez

    Claudio, que alegría saber de ti. Por si no te acuerdas de mí, yo fui profesor tuyo en los Salesianos Alameda. Bueno anoche, cuando te vi a través de las noticias, quede sumamente emocionado que después de tantos años sin saber nada de ti desde el terrible accidentre que tuviste en el 89 y verte ahí como un héroe en de la Policía de Chicago , me sentí muy orgulloso de ti. Siempre me acuerdo de tí y de tu imitación de Robocop que hacías y que te salía super bien, en la sala de clases… Yo ahora te miro y en el fondo de tu corazón veo un Robocop y ojalá que en el mundo hubieran más Robocop como tú… Felicidades amigo mío…

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