JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Hours after he stopped on his way to work to help put out a fiery crash on San Jose Boulevard, News4JAX Meteorologist Richard Nunn returned to the scene in the light of day.
A trail of damage was still visible where a car slammed into a trailer full of lawn equipment parked on San Jose Boulevard and DuPont Avenue in the Lakewood area early Wednesday morning.
“This wood, some of this metal, this piece. I couldn’t get the door open because all of this was in the way,” Nunn said as he looked over the rubble and debris.
He took the day off from work after the harrowing morning ordeal.
Nunn said he found the young man pinned inside the car after it careened into the yard. It was on fire, and Nunn had to find a water hose in a neighboring yard to put out the flames.
He said the first hose he found was too short so he had to find another, using his phone as a flashlight, so he could connect them together to get the fire out.
Nunn said when he came on the scene, he first spotted debris in the roadway, including tires, and another car with hazards on that had struck some of the debris from the crash. Then he noticed a strange, hazy smoke.
“I saw the car, I saw the flames, and in my mind, I’m thinking, ‘Gas and oil and water don’t mix.’ But I didn’t have a fire extinguisher. I had no other choice but to try to find something,” Nunn said.
He said as he worked to put out the flames, he called out for someone to call 911, and a neighbor responded, dialing for emergency services.
“I could only help comfort the kid. Unfortunately, he was pinned and I didn’t want to move him. Hearing, knowing that he was stuck and that he was in pain. He was in and out of consciousness. His Apple Watch was going off,” Nunn recalled.
Nunn said thankfully, emergency crews arrived just a few moments later.
“I have seen along this stretch in my 18 plus years of making that route some pretty bizarre stuff, some comical stuff. But I’ve never seen anything like that. That could have been life-altering,” Nunn said. “I’ve used the word surreal. Just it’s not what you’re expecting. I’ve seen some pretty far-out stuff driving to work, but nothing ever like this and nothing that I ever thought would emotionally just hit.”
The Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department responded around 3:25 a.m. to the crash. The driver was taken to the hospital and is in serious condition.
The man who owns the trailer has a landscaping business and said he typically parks his vehicles on the street. Included in the damage and debris are lawnmowers and a riding mower. The owner said that his business is essentially on hold until he figures out what to do next.
As the cleanup continues, Nunn said he realizes the outcome could have been far worse.
“Here’s a guy that is effectively out of business. There’s a young man that’s in the hospital, and there are homeowners, multiple, that have a lot of cleaning up to do,” Nunn said. “It’s sad, but I’m very happy that at last check he was in serious condition -- which is a lot better than it could have been.”
The northbound lanes were closed along San Jose Boulevard on Salamanca Avenue and DuPont Avenue for two hours, but they have since reopened.