Bus Operator Pulls Man from Burning Car
The last thing veteran Bus Operator Andrew Camputaro expected when he started his run Wednesday night on the S53 was to pull a man from a burning car. When congratulated by his co-workers for his heroic effort, the father of two simply shrugged and said it was no more than any other MTA New York City Transit employee would have done.
On Wednesday evening at 5:25 p.m., Camputaro, 35, was guiding his S53 bus along Broadway near Glenwood Place on Staten Island when he witnessed a collision after a vehicle ran a stop sign and was broadsided by another car. The collision resulted in heavy smoke and flames from under the hood of one of the vehicles adding urgency to the situation. Rather than continuing his route and driving on, Camputaro stopped, secured his bus, and ran over to the burning car. The father of three-year old twins said, "I looked into the vehicle to see if there were any kids in the back. I saw that there was no one back there so I tried to get the driver out. I couldn't get the driver's side door open so I started to pull him out through the window."
"I'm very proud of being the head of an agency where our employees go above and beyond the line of duty, particularly in an incident like this where someone could have been seriously hurt, or worse," said NYC Transit President Thomas F. Prendergast.
Christopher Waymer, ATU shop steward at Castleton said Camputaro's actions came as no surprise to him. "That's the type of guy he is. Other people would have just driven by, but Andrew is definitely not made that way."
Camputaro managed to pull the man free of the burning vehicle and then convince him to leave well enough alone when the man, apparently still dazed, wanted to go back to his car and retrieve his cell phone. "I managed to convince him that it was not a good idea," the bus operator said.
Aided by a passerby, Camputaro laid the victim down and then returned to his bus. He removed all of his passengers from the bus and then guided them 50 feet behind his bus, keeping the bus between his passengers and the car, which had the potential to explode.
The man was removed to Richmond University Medical Center where he was treated and released.