WASHINGTON COUNTY, Wis. (WFRV) – A mother and three children were saved thanks to the quick actions of a deputy after their vehicle was involved in a crash and started on fire.
According to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, shortly before 7:15 a.m. on Wednesday, deputies received a call reporting a two-vehicle traffic crash at the intersection of Pioneer Road and Mayfield Road on the border of the Town of Polk and the City of Hartford.
Traffic near the area was heavier than normal due to a major highway closure on Interstate 41 near Holy Hill Road from a previous crash early in the morning, and icy conditions were present.
The caller, a 34-year-old mother from the City of Hartford, reported that she was involved in a collision with another vehicle, and after the airbags were deployed, she was not able to open the door to the car or roll the windows down due to the damage. She also reported she had her three children, ages 14, seven, and five, in the car with her.
A 19-year veteran with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office was nearby when the call came in, and he immediately responded to the scene. Upon arrival, he noticed the engine compartment of the car had started on fire, with the mother and her children still trapped inside the vehicle.
The deputy attempted to extinguish the fire, but it continued to spread and burn hotter. The deputy then used a window-breaking tool to smash open two of the windows, and the children were extracted through the back window. The mother was also able to exit, thanks to the quick actions of the deputy.
The driver of the other vehicle also helped during the extraction of the kids. The fire continued to spread until it was finally extinguished by the Richfield Fire Department.
Preliminary investigations reveal that the other driver, a 50-year-old man from the City of Hartford, was westbound on Pioneer Road in heavy traffic when he made an unsafe U-turn. The mother, who was eastbound on Pioneer Road, was unable to stop for the other vehicle in her lane of traffic when the crash occurred.
The Washington County Sheriff’s Office says the man was not hurt in the incident but will be cited for an unsafe U-turn. As for the mother and her three children, miraculously, none of the children sustained any injuries, and the mother escaped with only minor scratches that may have resulted during the extraction.
Investigators are looking into why the doors and windows were not operational, and no additional details were provided by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.