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Man pinned by vehicle in Anchorage rollover is freed moments before it burns

Good Samaritans and an Anchorage police officer freed a man pinned under a burning vehicle moments before it became fully engulfed in flames Sunday afternoon, the Anchorage Police Department reported.

At about 4 p.m. Sunday, police responded to a report of a vehicle rollover on the 9600 block of Middlerock Road, in the Stuckagain Heights neighborhood of Anchorage.

When officer Mitchel Veenstra arrived, a vehicle was tipped on its right side on an embankment with the engine on fire, APD spokeswoman Renee Oistad wrote in a statement Sunday.

The only occupant was stuck on the passenger side with his arm trapped under the vehicle. He had not been wearing a seat belt, the statement said.

Veenstra and two unnamed citizens started rocking the car, trying to move it enough to free the man's pinned arm.

The officer yelled for more help, and a fourth person joined the effort.

"They were able to move the car just enough that the occupant's arm was freed and he was able to crawl out through the sunroof to safety," Oistad wrote.

About a minute after the man escaped the car became "fully engulfed" in flames, according to Oistad.

"The Anchorage Police Department is extremely grateful to the citizens who helped Officer Veenstra free the man from the car," she wrote. "Without their help, this incident could have easily turned into a fatality.

The cause of the crash is under investigation.

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