Police: Driver, passerby save wheelchair bound man from burning van

GRANVILLE, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Officials say a driver of a van and an unknown passerby are being deemed heroes after they saved a disabled passenger inside, as it was being consumed by flames.

According to Sheriff Murphy, on April 3at 3:15 p.m., the Washington County Sheriff’s Office responded to a report of a vehicle fire with a request for an ambulance on County Route 12 in the Town of Granville.

Upon arrival, the North Granville Fire Department was on scene fighting the fire. The driver, 35-year-old Scotty Huntington of Whitehall was working for the Warren/Washington County ARC and was operating a 2012 van owned by the organization. At the time, Huntington was transporting a 55-year-old resident who is confined to a wheelchair and was riding in the back portion of the van.

Huntington told a Sheriff’s Office Sergeant on scene that he smelled smoke and noticed flames coming from the dashboard area of the van as he was driving. Huntington advised that he immediately pulled over and began to work on getting the resident out of the back of the van.

Huntington said that as the rear lift was being lowered with the resident in the wheelchair on it, the power cut off to the lift and the fire began to intensify. Huntington said that an unknown passer-by helped him lift the resident in the wheelchair off the lift and to safety.

The van was consumed by the fire. Huntington and the resident were transported to the Glens Falls Hospital for minor injuries including smoke inhalation and minor burns to the wrists.

A portion of County Route 12 was closed for approximately an hour while the scene was being cleared. Fire investigators are looking into the cause of the fire and believe that it may have been electrical in nature.

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