Man injured in fiery Highway 97 crash
A man in his 30s is recovering in hospital after he drove off the side of Highway 97, causing the vehicle to burst into flames, while travelling toward West Kelowna on Saturday night.
The man was trapped in the blazing vehicle when two volunteer firefighters and an ambulance paramedic arrived at the scene to help.
"We called 911 and we talked to dispatch and she said ‘is there anyone in the vehicle' and at first we didn't think there was," said Kyla Symmons.
Realizing there was someone trapped inside, the three rescuers tried to put out the fire using a fire extinguisher but were unable to stop the flames.
In order to free the man, Zack Kuzmar broke the front windshield with his hand. The three were then able to pull him from the burning wreckage.
"Not thinking I just punched the window and lucky it was heated because it broke pretty easy," Kuzmar said. "I got a couple scratches on it but nothing crazy."
Matt Leslie said that seconds after they pulled the man from the car, it went up in flames. The crash victim was taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
The blazing car caused surrounding trees to catch on fire. Assistant Chief James Springer said firefighters struggled to control the fire.
"It was very close to getting away," Springer said. "It was starting to get in the trees, and the trees were starting to candle on the north side of this fire."
Crews worked until 2 a.m. to contain the fire. Police are not saying what caused the crash.