Powhatan deputy pulls driver from burning car - NBC12 - Richmond, VA News

Powhatan deputy pulls driver from burning car

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POWHATAN, VA (WWBT) -

A Powhatan Sheriff's Office deputy pulled a man from a car consumed by flames near Route 60 and Bell Road.

Firefighters say even though they arrived on scene in three minutes early Saturday morning, it wouldn't have been fast enough to save the driver. The flames spread extremely fast after a fuel line ruptured. Thankfully, Deputy Harley Crawford didn't spend one moment hesitating.

The car was out of control as it sped across the intersection, leaving behind skid marks on the street. The car then careened into a tree. Relentless flames consumed the vehicle, fueled by a punctured gas line. The driver hung his body out the window.

"He got up to his head and his shoulders, but it appeared he got stuck or couldn't move, or maybe went unconscious," described Crawford. "I was scared I wouldn't be able to get him out. That's the bad feeling, if you can't help somebody, and you're just watching something bad happen."

Crawford is also an 18-year veteran firefighter. He acted on impulse.

"You don't really have time to think. It's either you do or you don't," said Crawford of his instantaneous action.

Crawford grabbed the fire extinguisher in his car. He was able to knock down the flames for a matter of seconds, enough time to pull the driver from the burning wreck.

"Fuel lines and oil lines, of course, are feeding the fire… It goes right back up and increases intensity," continued Crawford.

The driver survived and was rushed to the hospital. Deputy Crawford says he's thankful for help of a passerby, Davon Simmons, who watched over the driver after he pulled him to safety. Crawford went back to fighting the fire.

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