Indianapolis Firefighters Rescue Man from Burning Car Trapped Under Power Lines

Indianapolis firefighters participate in the rescue of a man whose car was trapped under down power lines.


By Rita L. Reith

Indianapolis (IN) firefighters participated in the rescue of a man whose car was trapped under down power lines after a motor vehicle accident Monday.

A horrifying moment occurred for one driver when he slammed on his brakes to avoid the accident and suddenly found his car trapped under four high-voltage power lines that caught his car on fire.


Witnesses say that a Red Mini Cooper travelling southbound on Ditch Road was rear ended by the driver of a Green Dodge Durango, which pushed the Mini Cooper across the center line and into the path of an Engledow truck and trailer. The impact forced the Engledow truck into a utility pole, which severed it at its base and caused the power lines to fall.

The driver of a silver Aveo told firefighters that he slammed on his brakes when he saw the accident occur, but when he stopped he found himself underneath the high-voltage transmission lines–each at 7,000 volts. On impact with the Aveo, the lines burned through the car at both the rear corner and top, at the antenna, with fire then communicating to the interior of the vehicle.

The man, who remained calm in the face of extreme danger, stayed put until firefighters arrived. Fire crews immediately assessed the situation and established communication with the man inside the burning vehicle. Keeping him calm while waiting for utility crews to arrive, firefighters risked their own safety to extinguish the fire inside the car, therefore saving the victim from possible fatal injury.

Indianapolis Fire Department (IFD) standard operating procedure would be to await the de-energizing of the wires before taking any action, however the extreme risk of fire injury to the man was so great that firefighters risked their lives and extinguished the fire while the lines were still highly energized.

Knowing he risks of electrical emergencies, firefighters used the minimal amount possible to knock down the fire and step back away.  Utility crews arrived on scene and within 30 minutes had the lines de-energized. The man, who had been trapped in his car for over an hour, was assisted from the vehicle and transported to be checked out.


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