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OIFR volunteer rescues family of four from car fire

The truck fire.  - Contributed Photo
The truck fire.
— image credit: Contributed Photo

by NINA LARAMORE

Staff Reporter

Julie Remington, an Orcas Island Fire and Rescue firefighter and EMT, assisted a family to escape a truck fire near Bow, Washington on July 11.

Monty Smith of Bellingham had pulled his truck to the side of Interstate 5 when he noticed smoke coming from what he thought was a fire to the tire of a trailer he was towing. When he rolled his window down black smoke began filling his car to the point where he could not see and breathing was difficult.

Remington, who was traveling on the same road, saw the vehicle fire and rushed to Smith’s aid. She told him that the fire was underneath his truck and he and his family had to evacuate the truck immediately. The truck had pulled over on a narrow shoulder of road where multiple vehicles continued to speed by unaware of the car fire. The traffic and the smoke made escaping the vehicle difficult for Smith and the three other passengers.

While Smith helped his wife, Remington worked to assist the Smith’s 10-year old granddaughters out of the truck. Moments after everyone was out of the vehicle, the truck exploded into flames. All four of the passengers suffered from smoke inhalation and distress. Remington stayed with the family until State Troopers and firefighters arrived on the scene.

“This is a perfect example of someone acting decisively, without regard for their personal safety,” OIFR Chief Mike Harris said. “Any hesitation here would have been disastrous for the family trapped in the truck. If Julie had done nothing, and the worst would have happened, no one would know that a rescue could have been performed if a hero had been on the scene.”

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