Quick Action Saves Man from Fully Engulfed Overturned Vehicle

John P Smith, Communications Officer II, Valley Communications Center

I was sitting at the police console that dispatches for 4 cities including Black Diamond, Wash. on a Sunday morning. Black Diamond is a small town in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains and usually has 1 or 2 police officers working on any given shift. I received a notification on my CAD console that the Black Diamond FD was responding to an injury accident at the 31000 block of Black Diamond/Ravensdale Rd. I immediately aired the FD respond as information to the lone police officer working that morning. The detail said that it was dual response with the King County Sherriff’s Office for an injury accident.

I placed the fire detail in my recall window so that I could monitor the fire response. The next supplement to the detail stated that the vehicle was overturned, occupied and on fire. I was getting ready to ask the officer if he was in a position to assist when my eyes saw that the fire incident indicated that it was within the city limits of Black Diamond. I did not have a police detail for the call but immediately aired for the officer to respond to that location and created the PD detail.

The officer arrived in a fairly short period of time. He advised that the vehicle was indeed overturned, occupied and engulfed in fire. He asked what fire’s ETA was and was quickly advised that it was 30 seconds. He then, with the assistance of a citizen that was passing by, dug enough to allow the driver’s door to open, cut the occupant from his seat belt and removed him from the vehicle.

Fire arrived on scene several minutes later and commenced extinguishing the fire that was described as fully engulfed. The PD officer notified the on duty supervisor that if I had not done exactly what I did as quickly as was done, the driver would not have survived. The driver not only survived but did not even require transport to a medical facility.