Off-duty firefighters rescue 3 from burning car

The victims were on fire, and the firefighters used a sweater to swat out the flames before giving the driver CPR

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

ST. LOUIS, Mo. — Three off-duty St. Louis firefighters heading to their jobs saw a vehicle on fire and managed to pull three people from the flames Saturday morning.

The victims were on fire, and the firefighters used a sweater to swat out the flames before giving the driver CPR.

The three victims were in a car that crashed at 7:15 a.m. at North Broadway and Humboldt Avenue, according to St. Louis Fire Capt. Garon Mosby.

The vehicle was traveling at a high rate of speed on Broadway when the driver lost control and struck a pole, causing the vehicle’s engine to burst into flames, he said. The three occupants were unconscious and trapped.

The three firefighters, traveling in three different vehicles, were on Broadway headed to work when they came upon the wreckage along with other motorists.

Two of the firefighters, Licole McKinney and Vincent Smith, work out of Engine House No. 33, at North Broadway and Halls Ferry Road. The third firefighter, Frank Carter, works out of Engine House No. 20, at Broadway and Prescott Avenue.

Mosby said the three quickly jumped out of their vehicles went into action. Several of the civilians were enlisted to help, with one directed to call 911 and another to get something to break the car’s windows.

The three firefighters pulled the victims from the burning car, with McKinney burning her hand in the process. They put out the flames and started CPR on the driver, who was in cardiac arrest.

All three victims were transported to a hospital. The driver, 25, was listed in critical but stable condition; the female passenger was listed in critical condition; and the third man, 24, was listed as in serious but stable condition.

Mosby said McKinney felt helpless when she first arrived on the scene because she did not have the tools firefighters normally would use to rescue a victim from a vehicle. He said she and the others quickly overcame that and improvised.

“I have no doubt in my mind that if the firefighters had not been there, they would have burned to death,” he said. “By the time our truck would have gotten there, it wouldn’t have been good at all.”

Copyright 2014 St. Louis Post-Dispatch
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