MEDIA CONTACT: Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930
A two-vehicle crash occurred in Oxon Hill that resulted in one car erupting in flames with the occupant dazed and not getting out of her vehicle. On Thursday, November 5, 2009, just before 7:00 PM a rear-end collision occurred. The vehicle that was struck from the rear was pushed out into the intersection of Wilson Bridge Drive and Indian Head Highway with gasoline spewing from the rear of the vehicle. Witnesses stated that as the vehicle came to a rolling stop, the bottom of the vehicle erupted with fire. Several bystanders that witnessed the crash ran to assist the occupant get out of the vehicle but were unable to approach as the fire, fed by the ruptured gasoline tank, continued to grow in intensity. The adult female occupant was not responding to the shouts of bystanders and appeared to be dazed from the collision. A Fed Ex driver, David Ramadhani of Bowie, retrieved a fire extinguisher from his delivery truck and dispensed the contents in the area of the driver’s door. While he could not extinguish the fire completely, he did knock it down enough that he and another Good Samaritan, Michael Harry of Oxon Hill, were able to access the occupant. The vehicle was unlocked and they opened the drivers door and were met with heavy smoke and high heat. Due to the heavy smoke the rescuers could not locate a seat belt buckle and they wisely used a utility knife to cut the seatbelt and pull her from the burning vehicle.
Firefighters and Paramedics arrived within four minutes of dispatch and advised of a vehicle fully engulfed with fire. Paramedics tended to the patient, a 30ish year old female, and transported her to a Trauma Center with serious, non-life threatening injuries. The driver of the second vehicle was also transported to a local hospital for treatment of minor injuries.
The on scene Paramedic Supervisor, Fire Fighter/Medic Lieutenant Dale Giampetroni, commended the group of Good Samaritans and told them that because of their willingness to help a stranger in need is the reason she is alive today. She stated, “The immediate removal of the female from the vehicle saved her life. There is no way anyone could have survived the intense fire that firefighters encountered upon their arrival.”
When informed of the incident, Prince George’s County Fire Chief Eugene A. Jones commented, “I am humbled by the brave heroic acts of our citizens that placed themselves in harms way to rescue the life of a stranger. These Good Samaritans should be extremely proud of themselves for saving a life. I commend them and look forward to making a formal presentation to them in the near future.”
The Prince George’s County Police Department was investigating the crash.