5 die in fiery crash in Calif.
The Associated Press | September 29,2013
BURBANK, Calif. — Five people were killed early Saturday after their car spun out and burst into flames in Burbank, trapping people inside, officials said.
Hours after the wreck, firefighters were assisting the coroner’s office in removing the bodies, which were “burned beyond recognition,” from the wreckage for further investigation, Burbank Fire Capt. Peter Hendrickson said.
There was one survivor, an 18-year-old woman who managed to crawl out of the burning Nissan and was found by police about 50 yards away from the wreckage when they arrived shortly after 4 a.m.
The woman suffered a broken leg and was being treated for non-life threatening injuries at the Los Angeles County Medical Center, Sgt. Darin Ryburn said. He said her father was with her at the hospital.
Paramedics reported smelling alcohol on her breath, Fire Battalion Chief Ron Barone said. Authorities don’t yet know whether alcohol or drugs played a role in the crash, but speed does appear to be a factor. The car burst into flames after striking a guardrail near an I-5 off-ramp and careened into a freeway pillar behind it.
The curving stretch of roadway has a posted 45 mph speed limit, but vehicles often fly off the freeway at speeds closer to 70 mph, and accidents have happened in the area in the past, according to authorities.
The survivor was not the driver, but it’s unclear if she was wearing a seat belt. She was one of six total people squished into the car, which had only five seatbelts, Ryburn said.
Investigators will interview the woman, who they are not currently identifying, to learn more about the accident and how it occurred, Ryburn said.
The car was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived. “There was absolutely no possibility of any rescue whatsoever,” Barone said.
The flames from the fire spread to nearby trees and brush and Barone said they were doused within moments of firefighters’ arriving.
Lt. Larry Dietz of the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office said fingerprints or dental records would be used to identify those killed.