STAMFORD - A Stamford police officer is recovering after pulling a man out of a burning car Monday night.

The incident happened at around 8 p.m. when Javier Rivera crashed his Chevrolet into a parked car. Officer Willie Mercado, who arrived on the scene, says initially he couldn't free the driver. However, once the car caught fire, Mercado says he grabbed the man and pulled him out.

Bystanders helped Mercado carry the driver to safety just seconds before the flames engulfed the car.

Rivera suffered severe burns and is in critical condition at Bridgeport Hospital. Mercado suffered first-degree burns on his hands.