Madera man honored for saving Clovis family from burning car

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A Madera man who risked his life to help save a Clovis family trapped inside their car was honored by the CHP Wednesday. (KFSN)

A Madera man who risked his life to help save a Clovis family trapped inside their car was honored by the CHP Wednesday.

Cellphone video captured the fiery crash on Highway 99 near Avenue 12 in October. Kirk Cardoso of Madera said too many people reached for their phones instead of stepping out to help.

Codee Cardoza of Clovis said Cardoso will always be part of her family.
Cardoso pulled over after seeing Codee's SUV flip over on 99. He jumped the divider and slid under the car to first pull out three-year-old Ethan.

"Laying on my back and struggling with the child seat and smelling the presence of gas, and knowing, as I approached the vehicle there already a fire on the undercarriage. I knew it was now or never," said Cardoso.

Two men helped free nine-year-old Paiden before Cardoso came back for Codee.

"I have two superheroes. My mom and him," said Paiden.

"Their guardian angel-- that's how they refer to him as. They know what he did for them," said Codee.

Cardoso received a community service award from the CHP Madera office

"There's times when members of the community take it upon themselves to assist others," said Mark Kairis, CHP.

But Cardoso was disheartened to see so many people on their phones shooting video. He says he could have used some help.

"To get out and record when people's lives are in danger is pretty low. But in the day and age of needing likes and hits it's a little frightening to think that people put their own self- interest in front of others," said Cardoso.

Codee believes people have much to learn from heroes like Cardoso.

"Instead of sticking cellphones in people's face in times of need, they need to step in and help like Kirk did."

So Cardoso has an award but little Ethan has a friend for life

Cardoso said he just did exactly what he would hope others would do if his own family was in need.
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