A firefighter and another bystander saved a woman who was trapped in a burning vehicle after she crashed into a truck on Sunrise Highway in Lynbrook on Nov. 27.
Shortly after 3 p.m., Lynbrook firefighters were notified of a reported accident and entrapment westbound on Sunrise Highway, opposite Reyam Road. Baldwin Fire Department First Lieutenant James Martinez was driving eastbound on Sunrise Highway at the time and heard the crash and stopped. Martinez, along with another bystander, ran to the scene, as smoke and fire billowed from the front of the vehicle, which was partially under the rear of the box truck stopped at the light at that intersection.
Through the heavy smoke, the two rescuers found the vehicle driver trapped, unconscious, and unable to open the door. As flames were engulfing the front passenger area, the two pulled and forced open the driver's door, which was partially crushed. They were then able to just barely remove the badly injured woman through a very small door opening due to the damage and the fact that the vehicle was partially under the truck. Just after they got her out, the driver's compartment became fully engulfed in flames.
Lynbrook First Assistant Chief Michael Brooks, while responding to the scene, saw the heavy smoke ahead on Sunrise Highway and broadcast a general alarm for additional fire units to respond. Units from Truck Company and Engine Company 1 arrived first on the scene. ‘
Meanwhile, the driver, first placed in the roadway, was then carried by Martinez and Lynbrook Police Officer Peter Festa across the highway to the sidewalk on the opposite side and away from the raging fire. Lynbrook Emergency Medical Company EMT Katie DuBose arrived and immediately administered patient care, along with Martinez, to the driver who was going in and out of consciousness and had serious trauma injuries. Medical Company former captain and EMT Tracey LaBarbera then joined them as they worked to stabilize the victim. A Northwell Health ambulance arrived and their EMT's assisted. The driver was placed into their ambulance and transported to Mount Sinai South Nassau in Oceanside.
While the driver was being attended to, Engine Company members, along with other arriving firefighters, and directed by Second Assistant Chief John Donald, stretched a hose line to the burning vehicle while Tally-Ho Engine 3 took the hydrant on Reyam Road and supplied water to the other engine. Truck Company members assisted with the overhaul of the vehicle when the fire was extinguished.
The victim, who was not identified, is still in the hospital being treated for her multiple injuries. The truck driver was not hurt.
Lynbrook Fire Chief Nick Pearsall praised Lieutenant Martinez and the second bystander for their quick actions, which likely saved the driver’s life. He also acknowledged the work of EMT's who assisted to help stabilize the driver, and the firefighters who extinguished the fire.