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Three women rescued from burning van following early-morning accident

By Staff | Oct 27, 2011

Three women were pulled from a burning van Thursday morning after it collided into a car while trying to turn at a Cape Coral intersection.

At 6:45 a.m., Cape Coral Police Department dispatch received a call about an accident involving a vehicle on fire at Veterans Parkway and Surfside Boulevard. The van had been headed west on Veterans, and the car was headed east.

According to Lt. Tony Sizemore, spokesman for the Cape police, the van tried to turn south onto Surfside and entered the right-of-way of the car.

“Someone turned in front of someone else,” he said.

As a result of the impact, the van caught on fire.

Three women inside the van were unable to open their doors and exit. Unidentified bystanders quickly removed the rear window of the van, pulled the three injured women out of the vehicle and moved them to safety.

They stayed with the women until rescue crews arrived on scene.

Connie Barron, the city’s spokeswoman, reported that crews responded within five minutes to find the van on fire and debris scattered in the area. Five people were taken to Lee Memorial Hospital as a result of the crash.

Cape firefighters extinguished the fully engulfed van by 6:57 a.m.

“The actions of these unknown bystanders may have saved the lives of three women passengers in the burning van,” Assistant Chief Tom Tomich, with the Cape fire department, said in a prepared statement.

“We do not know their names, but we do know they risked their lives without hesitation to help save the victims of this serious crash,” he said. “We thank you.”

The conditions of the five transported were unknown Thursday evening.

Sizemore noted that none of the injuries were life-threatening.