At 2:15 p.m., Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue firefighters were dispatched to 7200 SW Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway in Beaverton after multiple callers to 9-1-1 reported that a vehicle and gas pumps were on fire at a gas station. Initial reports indicated that one person was trapped inside the vehicle.
Upon arrival, fire crews initiated an aggressive attack on the fire, which had fully involved the vehicle and a gas pump. Firefighter paramedics also began assessing and treating two patients.
TVF&R credits the actions of two individuals who reportedly prevented this incident from becoming a tragedy. One individual - a gas station employee - immediately shut off the main switch to the gas pumps after the fire started. Another individual - a bystander - broke out the vehicle's window and pulled a female patient from the burning car to safety. The female patient was treated by firefighter paramedics and transported by Metro West ambulance to an area hospital with non-life-threatening injuries resulting from smoke inhalation. The bystander who intervened was treated on scene for minor cuts.
TVF&R Battalion Chief Leonard Damian said of the bystander, "Had this individual not broken out the window and pulled the patient out of the burning car and to safety, I don't believe she would have survived. His actions were nothing short of heroic."
TVF&R was assisted on this incident with a mutual aid response from Portland Fire & Rescue and traffic control by the Washington County Sheriff's Office. WCSO is the lead agency investigating the nature of the motor vehicle accident.
A TVF&R fire investigator has determined that the fire resulted when the vehicle collided with the pump and gasoline vapors ignited. The investigator has not yet ruled out electrical or mechanical impact as the source of ignition. The incident remains under investigation, and the fire investigator will continue to examine material evidence this week.