[UPDATE] Bystander and Officer Save Driver from Burning Vehicle that Crashed into Barn
A Plaza Cab lit on fire after crashing into a barn in Arcata at about 12:30 a.m. today. The crash was near the intersection of Alliance Road and 30th Street.
“The cab was full of smoke and the vehicle was on fire,” said Arcata Fire Battalion Chief Sean Campbell.
The driver of the vehicle was trapped inside.
“A community member and Officer Matt O’Donovan helped get the driver out of the vehicle,” Campbell said. “I believe the driver was transported [to the hospital].”
The cab crashed into a fence and took out a corner of the barn.
“I would call it major structural damage,” Campbell said.
The flames from the vehicle spread to the barn. However, fire crews arrived at the scene quickly because they were already at a nearby call. They put the fire out before the flames had too much time to spread.
Several witnesses said the driver suffered from a seizure.
[Click here for our earlier story.] [See below for update]
Update 4:35 a.m.: A video of the incident from Arcata Fire’s Facebook Page:
Update 9:24 a.m.: Press release from Arcata Fire District.
The first arriving engine reported a vehicle into a barn with flames coming from under the vehicle. The interior of the vehicle filled with smoke as the two-person engine crew prepared for fire attack while searching for the trapped person inside the vehicle. The Incident Commander was soon notified that Arcata Police officers arrived on scene before the engine and assisted a Good Samaritan in removing an individual from the burning vehicle. The occupant of the vehicle was taken to a nearby hospital by ambulance and the fire crews continued to extinguish the fire.
The vehicle had a significant fuel leak causing rapid fire spread. This proved to be a challenge to firefighters, as there was a potential for fire extension and structural collapse of the barn.
Battalion Chief Sean Campbell stated that, “Having firefighters on the engine immediately available for calls like this one can be the difference between a positive and negative outcome. Had the vehicle been occupied by multiple people, this would have ended differently.” Having adequate staffing on engines will allow the Arcata Fire District to be more efficient for such incidents.
No other injuries were reported and the cause of the fire to the vehicle is still under investigation. Arcata Fire District responded with three engines and a chief officer and requested mutual aid from Humboldt Bay Fire. Humboldt Bay Fire responded with one engine and one chief officer to provide coverage for the Fire District. Arcata Police Department and Arcata-Mad River Ambulance also responded.