BELL GARDENS, Calif. – Officers rescued an unconscious 28-year-old woman who was trapped inside a vehicle that caught fire after it struck a traffic signal control cabinet on a sidewalk in Bell Gardens, authorities said Sunday.
Officers were patrolling in the 6000 block of Gage Avenue at about 4:55 a.m. Saturday when they came upon the wreckage of a vehicle that had sustained major front end damage. The vehicle was in direct contact with exposed electrical wiring from the traffic control cabinet, according to Lt. Efren Aguirre of the Bell Gardens Police Department.
“As officers were trying to extricate the driver, the engine compartment caught fire and within seconds the fire increased in size,” Aguirre said. “Utilizing fire extinguishers to keep the fire at bay, officers struggled to pull the unconscious female from the vehicle, as smoke and fire entered the vehicle’s passenger compartment.
“Officers continued to free the driver, as the fire grew larger,” Aguirre continued. “After several minutes, they were finally able to pull her to safety.”
Los Angeles County Fire Department paramedics arriving at the scene treated the woman for severe burns to her legs and rushed her to a hospital for further treatment, he said.
Bell Gardens police urged anyone with information regarding the crash to call them at 562-806-7600.