Wednesday, June 20 , 2018, 10:47 pm | Fair 63º


Firefighters Rescue Man From Burning Car, Protect Simi Valley Homes

The burned wreckage of a vehicle that crashed Friday in Ventura County, critically injuring its driver. Firefighters made a dramatic rescue of the driver. Click to view larger
The burned wreckage of a vehicle that crashed Friday in Ventura County, critically injuring its driver. Firefighters made a dramatic rescue of the driver. (Ventura County Fire Department photo)

The Ventura County Fire Department worked closely with local fire agencies to save dozens of homes from a wildfire and rescue a man from a burning vehicle that went over the side of the Ronald Reagan 118 freeway in Simi Valley on the morning of Friday, Aug. 15.

At approximately 5:40 a.m., emergency responders were notified of a traffic collision, which sent a pickup truck off the side of the westbound freeway between Rocky Peak Fire Road and Kuehner Drive. Upon impact, the overturned vehicle ignited a brush fire.

Ventura County Fire along with air and ground support from the Los Angeles City Fire Department and Los Angeles County Fire Department, worked together to gain the upper hand on flames within about 90 minutes thanks to water drops and an aggressive ground attack.

Firefighters on scene were amazed that the middle-aged male driver survived after falling hundreds of feet down a ravine alongside the freeway.

“Early arriving firefighters were met with many challenges. The victim is alive thanks to the teamwork of several agencies,” said Ventura County Fire Division Chief Dustin Gardner. “After traveling approximately 300 feet over the side, he was able to remove himself from the vehicle and take refuge in a nearby drainage pipe until rescuers could gain access to him. His seatbelt protected him from the fall while firefighters saved him from the flames.”

The driver was safely rescued from the scene by L.A. County Fire Department’s Air Unit Division and airlifted by Copter 19 to a hospital in critical condition.

“This is an incredible rescue and demonstration of the power of inter-agency teamwork,” said Gardner. “Thanks to mutual aid fire support, one man was saved while firefighters prevented this from growing into a large-scale brush fire that could have threatened many homes.”


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