More than an hour after the fire started, the Zuniga family?s burned SUV still harbors some open flame as an LA County Firefighter douses the area with retardant foam.
GORMAN (Saturday, Sept. 19, 8 a.m.)—The Zuniga family from Bakersfield narrowly escaped tragedy on Friday, Sept. 18 around 5:30 p.m., when their SUV nose-dived off southbound Interstate 5 and into a ditch.
According to Battalion Chief Jim Robinson of Los Angeles County Fire Department, the vehicle then flipped around 180 degrees before catching fire, which ignited the surrounding dried grass. Nearby pine trees caught fire, which sent embers flying across I-5 and started another grass fire on the east side of the freeway.
The five family members escaped the vehicle before it burst into flames although one member reportedly was transported by American Medical Response (AMR) ambulance to a local hospital, Robinson said. He did not know the extent or nature of the injuries.
The fire consumed a half-acre on the west side of I-5 between the freeway and Peace Valley Road, and another two acres on the east side of the freeway, according to Captain Tom Robertson of LACFD’s Engine 77, who was first on scene of the fire.
—Reported by Katy Penland
This is part of the September 18, 2009 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.
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