Two California women and their children are alive today thanks to the timely actions of a California Highway Patrol officer. On March 7 at around 10:00 a.m., Officer Kaleo Clissold of the CHP was traveling southbound on California Highway 1 in Monterrey when the car in front of him burst into flames. Vern Fisher, a photographer for the Monterey Herald, happened to be behind Officer Clissold and filmed both the fire and the dramatic rescue.

"I was behind the CHP when all of a sudden I just saw an explosion of smoke and flames coming from under the hood of the car," Fisher said. "The lights (of the CHP patrol vehicle) went on and the car pulled onto the exit but didn't stop immediately."

The car, a silver, 90s-era Toyota Camry, limped along the street smoking and dropping burning debris in its wake until the driver finally pulled into the parking lot of a hotel on Munras Avenue.

Officer Clissold approached the car yelling for the driver and passengers to get out, then realized that two children were strapped into car seats in the Toyota's back seat. Officer Clissold immediately removed one of the children, handing the screaming, coughing toddler off to the Toyota's passenger as she exited the vehicle. As he pulled the second child from the burning car, the driver exited through the passenger door. The women and children were treated at the scene by EMTs then transported to Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula for further observation.

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