LUCIE COUNTY, FL – On Tuesday tcpalm.com reported that two Fort Pierce residents, Katherine Russ, age 78 and Charles Gables, age 69 were identified as the injured individuals who were rescued from a burning vehicle in St. Lucie County on Monday.
The accident occurred on Monday afternoon around 2:30 p.m. According to the spokesperson for the St. Lucie County Fire District, Brenda Stokes, the injured individuals were traveling north on Kings Highway in a 2015 Dodge Journey when the vehicle was seen leaving the roadway, driving across the grass-covered shoulder, and then colliding with a utility pole. Following impact, the car spun then hit a second utility and flipped over.
The car caught fire immediately, and bystanders rushed to the vehicle to pull Russ and Gables out. In her statement, Stokes said that the outcome would have been completely different had the bystanders not taken quick action before emergency services arrived at the scene. Both individuals were treated for their injuries at Lawnwood Regional Medical Center & Heart Institute.
While debris from the accident hit a truck that was parked at a nearby McDonald’s, no other vehicles were involved in the collision. The cause of the accident is still unknown, although investigators determined that alcohol was not a contributing factor.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, firefighters in the United States respond to approximately 287,000 vehicle fires every year. The national death toll from highway fires is about 480 per year, with an additional 1,525 injuries recorded. These accidents cause about $1.3 billion in property damage annually.
While cars can catch fire for a variety of reasons, the most important thing to remember in a highway fire is to get away from the vehicle as quickly as possible. Small vehicle fires can rapidly become big fires.