ANAHEIM (CBSLA) — The driver of a big rig was rescued by California Highway Patrol officers Friday from his big rig after caught fire in a collision with a concrete wall along the northbound 5 Freeway in Anaheim.
The crash along the northbound 5 Freeway just south of Euclid in Anaheim was first reported at about 12:45 a.m. All lanes were shut down more than two hours, and authorities have since reopened two lanes.
The big rig plowed through a guard rail and slammed into the right shoulder wall, under an overpass. The impact of the crash caused the cab to burst into flames, scorching the overpass.
The first CHP officers on the scene grabbed fire extinguishers to fight back the flames of the burning cab, gaining just enough time to cut the driver’s seat belt and drag him to safety.
The “officers did an extraordinary job in assisting that gentleman out of that vehicle before it went up in flames completely,” a CHP officer at the scene said.
Heroic Rescue! CHP Officers Wes Tom and Matthew Frattaroli pulled a driver out of this burning big rig in Anaheim right before the cab went up in flames. Driver was conscious when rushed to hospital with major injuries @CBSLA @jasmineviel @DeMarcoReports pic.twitter.com/FLQxYzDtgH
— Kara Finnstrom (@KaraFinnstrom) September 13, 2019
The unnamed driver, who is a 43-year-old man from San Diego, was conscious after being taken to a nearby hospital and rushed into surgery.
It’s not clear why the driver lost control of the big rig, which was carrying a load of fruit.
The structural integrity of the overpass appears to be OK, officials said, but it’s being checked out. The freeway could reopen by 9:30 a.m.