JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A driver slammed into a trailer parked on San Jose Boulevard and DuPont Avenue in the Lakewood area early Wednesday morning.
News4JAX Meteorologist Richard Nunn spotted the fiery crash on his way to work and tried to rescue the driver by grabbing a hose out of a neighboring yard to put out the car fire. 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.
“There was so much debris on the car, and I could hear something, but it was the Apple Watch that was trying to connect,” Nunn said. “It was trying to find a location saying ‘emergency, location help,’ -- which is a fantastic device, I think it’s very cool. It was confusing at first because I’m yelling back at it until finally the young man, I could hear him.”
Nunn said he started pulling wood off the side of the car and could only get the back driver’s door open because the wheel well from the trailer was in the way. He was able to make some kind of contact with the driver and made sure no one else was in the car. By that time emergency crews were pulling up to the scene.
He said he was relieved when professional rescue personnel arrived and he was able to step back and watch them go to work. He said what felt like a long time was probably only seconds.
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.
“It could be a lot worse,” Nunn said. “That man is very fortunate.”
A neighbor told News4JAX that the trailer was hitched to the back of a pickup truck in the neighborhood.
The owner of the trailer said he owns a landscaping business. Included in the damage and debris are lawnmowers and a riding mower.
The northbound lanes were closed along San Jose Boulevard on Salamanca Avenue and DuPont Avenue for two hours, but they have since reopened.