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Camera-crazy Good Samaritan rescues man from burning car

Technically Incorrect: Video is now on YouTube, where it raises questions about the hero's motives and our obsession with social media.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


Portillo pulling the man away from the car.

ViralHog/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

If you hit a hole-in-one and no one sees it, how are you ever going to persuade anyone it happened?

It's quite similar with, say, saving someone's life. If you can't prove it, who's going to believe you were a hero?

This might cross the minds of some readers when they hear about the rescue of a man from a burning car in Riverside. California.

As CBS Los Angeles reports, Santiago Portillo saw the overturned car last week and immediately set up his phone to record the proceedings.

In these tech-obsessed days, that's what you do.

Then Portillo realized there was a man trapped inside.

So he went to the car and, as his video shows, rescued the man. "I was not going to see a human get burned," Portillo, a mattress store manager, told CBS LA.

Yes, of course he kept the camera running. Wouldn't you?

Ricardo Nuñez, the 21-year-old pulled from the car, was grateful for Portillo's intervention.

As NBC Los Angeles reports, the two embraced when they had a reunion at the crash site.

Not everyone watching the video, though, thought Portillo a hero.

Some commenters on the video suggested that Portillo was at least as concerned with the filming as with the rescuing.

One user, with the handle dmitriy406, wrote: "Set the camera first, because seconds count!!! Hahahaha!"

Others suggested Portillo wanted to document his efforts as evidence in the event a legal issue arose from his heroics. More than a few suggested Portillo needed to work on his camera skills. No YouTube video is complete without someone bemoaning a video shot in portrait rather than landscape mode.

I couldn't find Portillo or Nuñez, but I want to believe rescuing the driver was Portillo's first concern. And he did just that.

Still, it's worth considering how many people would have risked their lives, as Portillo did, rather than stand by and just point their phones at the blazing car? Not everyone would.

Just last year, an Ohio man was charged after climbing into a crashed car with the sole purpose of filming the two teens inside.

He put his video on Facebook. One of the teens died.