Good Samaritans pull 3 from burning vehicles on I-85

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 11, 2013

SPENCER — Good Samaritans pulled a child and two adults from burning vehicles Monday night after a collision on Interstate 85 at the Long Ferry Road exit.
Chief Bobby Fox said when Millers Ferry Volunteer Fire Department arrived around 8:30 p.m., all three victims were out of the vehicles and the anonymous heroes were getting into their cars and driving away, shunning the spotlight.
He said the mystery first responders saved several lives.
“Absolutely, absolutely,” Fox said.
All victims were transported to Rowan Medical Center, where one adult woman was airlifted to another hospital. All are expected to survive.
The 12-year-old child and the other adult female had what appeared to be minor injuries, Fox said.
All injuries were sustained from the impact, not from the fire, he said.
The collision occurred when a white minivan carrying the child and one woman stopped in the middle of the southbound lane of the interstate for an unknown reason. A Nissan SUV driven by a woman struck the stopped van at about 55 mph, according to the N.C. Highway Patrol, Fox said.
The impact ruptured the fuel tank on the minivan, which caught fire. Flames quickly spread to the SUV.
“This was a fairly significant impact,” Fox said. “If you saw the vehicles, I would have expected multiple fatalities.”
The driver of the SUV had little time to react, Fox said, and applied the brakes just before hitting the van. From eyewitness accounts, the fire started almost instantly, he said.
A Millers Ferry volunteer firefighter was driving north on I-85 when he saw flames and turned around. In the short time it took him to reach the scene of the accident, the victims had been pulled from the wreckage, Fox said.
“They left as we pulled up,” Fox said. “They had everyone out.”
The identities of the victims were not available at press time. One driver was from Durham, Fox said, and her husband arrived and asked for directions to the hospital.
The interstate was blocked for about 45 minutes, Fox said. Both cars were totaled.
Also responding were Rowan County EMS, Rowan County Rescue Squad, Salisbury Fire Department, Spencer Fire Department and the N.C. Highway Patrol.