Friday, June 30, 2017

Heroes: A daring rescue from a fiery car

The unconscious driver was trapped in there.
The town adjacent to mine in Connecticut is Wilton, from which comes a real hero. Good Morning Wilton has the story.
On an everyday drive to pick up his son after school Wilton resident Tom Dubin came upon a burning car. The driver was inside, unconscious.
"We were the fifth car to arrive at the crash–a car had driven straight into a tree and was pretty crumpled, its hood was popped up, and the engine was on fire.”

The other motorists who had stopped had already called 9-1-1, but hadn’t tried to get close enough to the burning vehicle. 
“Everyone was keeping their distance from the car and fire -- I guess we’ve all seen too many movies with exploding cars. I told my son to stay by our car, and I walked over to check on the driver.
“It was pretty clear the fire was going to spread pretty quickly -- more quickly than [the driver] had time for. Time was clearly of the essence.” 
Tom Durbin
 The adrenaline kicked in, and he set aside all thoughts of self-preservation.
The driver's head was lying on the steering wheel, with no airbag. It was apparent that the fire was going to continue spreading and that emergency response was unlikely to arrive in time to remove the driver.
"I tried to wake him up a couple times, but couldn’t. I tried the driver’s door, but it was jammed closed. Then I went to the passenger side and was able to get that door open, but realized there was no way to pull the driver over the center console. So I went back to the driver’s side and after several good yanks that door ultimately came open. But I couldn’t reach his seat belt release.” 
As he worked he found inspiration in a news story he remembered reading. “One thing that did go through my head, I recall months ago a similar thing happened in Wilton. The story about the Wilton cops who had done something like this.  
“I had to go back to the passenger side door and was able to pop the belt open from that angle. Once the belt was released, I ran back to the driver’s side and was able to get my arms under his, and was able to drag him out of his car. Fortunately, the fire didn’t encroach into the cabin area until shortly after I got him out,” he says. 
Dubin estimates it took about 3-4 minutes to get the man free. As he dragged the driver about 10 feet away from the burning wreck, the other bystanders ran over to help pull the man to safety. Dubin grabbed a blanket from his car and stayed with the victim, who remained unresponsive. One of the other bystanders was a nurse and they worked to offer the driver first aid until emergency responders arrived. 
Dubin says it’s a good thing he didn’t wait for emergency responders to get to the accident scene, which took at least another 4-5 minutes. “It would have been too late. By the time the first cop arrived, we’d already gotten him out. We looked over at the car and the fire was already in the passenger cabin. He would have been…” His voice trails off.

The seriously injured driver, also a Wilton resident, survived.  
You might want to carry one of these in your car.

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