A Fairfield University student was critically injured after he caught fire when his car went up in flames.
FAIRFIELD, CT (WFSB) -
A Fairfield University student is suffering from life-threatening burns to most of his body after escaping from a burning vehicle in Fairfield on Thursday evening.
Just after 6 p.m., the Fairfield Fire Department received word of a vehicle accident and someone that was on fire in the area of Melville Avenue and Tunxis Hill Park baseball field.
Police said witnesses heard a popping sound before the car caught on fire and then saw a man running from the vehicle.
A fire unit that was returning from a prior call made it to the scene in less than two minutes, and upon arrival saw a Chevrolet Tahoe in the parking lot with thick black smoke and fire shooting from all of the windows. Firefighters said they also saw people helping a man on the ground with burns over most of his body.
Fairfield fire officials said the fire units quickly split into two teams, one assisting with extinguishing the fire and the other to provide immediate medical attention to the man.
The victim, who has been identified as Justin Hervey, 23, a Fairfield University Student, was quickly brought to Bridgeport Hospital's Burn Unit.
Civilians who were nearby watching a little league game saw Hervey and the vehicle on fire, and quickly rushed to his aid.
"The actions of the civilians that helped the burn victim with his injuries were heroic and should be applauded, as they risked their personal safety to help another person in need," Assistant Fire Chief Scott Bisson said.
One of the people who rushed to Hervey's aid also received burns to his hands while trying to extinguish Hervey's clothes and sought medical attention privately, fire officials said.
There were several children present at the field at the time of the fire. Both parents of the children and the school system were notified of the incident.
"Due to the traumatic nature of the incident that many young players witnessed, the parents of the children and the school system have been advised of the situation so that counselors will be available for anyone requesting assistance," Bisson said.
Fire and police investigators stayed on scene for several hours combing through debris at the scene.
The incident remains under investigation by the Fairfield Police Department and the Fairfield Fire Marshal's Office.
Copyright 2012 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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