Huntington Beach

Offduty firefighter rescues motorist

WRECKED, gutted vehicle from which an off-duty HBFD firefighter paramedic rescued a motorist (HBFD photo).

A Huntington Beach firefighter-paramedic on his way to work Sunday morning rescued a man from a burning vehicle.

According to the HBFD, Drew DiPaola was driving westbound on the Garden Grove Freeway when he spotted a crashed, disabled car around 6:40 a.m. at The City Drive in Orange. The victim was inside the vehicle.

DiPaola parked and retrieved his firefighter turnout jacket and personal fire extinguisher. As he approached the wreckage, the engine compartment was on fire and the blaze was starting to spread toward the passenger space.

The motorist was trapped as a guardrail was penetrating the front of the vehicle and out of the driver side.

DiPaola positioned himself between the vehicle and the guardrail to create a gap and was able to pull the unconscious driver from the vehicle. About 30 seconds later, the car was completely engulfed in flames.

He then rendered medical aid to the victim until the Orange City Fire Department arrived to continue care and take the patient to a local hospital. After the incident, DiPaola drove to his station in Huntington Beach to work his shift.


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