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MFRD Rescues Woman from Car Ignited by Power Lines

May 24th, 2024

Mobile Fire-Rescue Department units were dispatched at about 4:26 p.m. for a report of a vehicle fire in the 7700 block of Hitt Road, Friday, May 24, 2024.

Engine 26 arrived on scene to find a power pole down. Nearby, its high voltage power lines had fallen onto the roof of a Toyota Camry that had been driving down Hitt Road. A woman was in the driver’s seat of the car.

Of the three downed wires, one rested against the car, while wind caused another to intermittently contact the car, arcing and igniting the ceiling liner of the vehicle.

Personnel established a safe zone and told the occupant not to move to prevent contact with conductive metals though smoke filled the car and burning ceiling plastic dripped near the driver.

Firefighters slid a 10-foot-long pike pole onto the roof of the car to keep the wire from contacting it. The pike pole, a tool used to tear down ceilings during firefighting, has a long shaft made of nonconductive fiberglass.

Then they used a 6-foot pike pole to open the car door. Crews instructed the driver not to touch anything and instructed her how to carefully exit the vehicle. They then assisted her into the safe zone.

The melting materials in the car eventually ignited the vehicle, which was left to burn until arcing power lines at its roof were de-energized by Alabama Power. Crews then used water and foam to extinguish the fire.

“It was a bad situation, getting worse as time went on. We were very fortunate to get her out of there,” Capt. Charles Andrews said.

District 4, Engines 26 and 11, and Truck 27 worked at the incident. No injuries were reported.