Firefighters find driver dead in burning car by freeway


SAN DIEGO — Crews responding to calls about a fire near the freeway in San Ysidro Sunday morning discovered a burning car with a driver who was apparently trapped inside after a crash.

The fire was spotted around 8:40 a.m. between some trees just off Interstate 5, south of Interstate 905 in the South Bay, according to San Diego Fire-Rescue Batt. Chief Chris Babler. Initially thinking it could be a brush fire, firefighters realized there was a car burning down a slope on the roadside.

Crews extinguished the flames as quickly as they could but “there was absolutely nothing we could do” for the driver, who may have died from the initial impact or from the resulting fire, Babler said. The battalion chief estimated the car had been burning 10 to 15 minutes before they could arrive. It appeared to have hit one of the trees on the side of the road.

Firefighters called California Highway and the coroner’s office before beginning to cut the person’s body out of the vehicle. Officials did not immediately provide an identity or information about the driver, who Babler said was “burned very badly.”

Crews also put out a portion of brush on slope that burned, but no structures were ever threatened, Babler added.

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