Local Heroes Douse Truck Fire and Save Driver

Written by Andrew Traub

February 16, 2009

Richard Slack, a 47-year-old former volunteer firefighter in New York, was working at a Lube Pit Stop at about 4:45 p.m.  in Southwest Austin on February 12th when he heard a boom.  There was no screeching tires before he heard the crash, which are common along the stretch of U.S. 290 just east of William Cannon Driver where the shop is located.

Hearing that the truck was on fire, Slack immediately ran to the scene where he saw a Ford Ranger pickup and a Subaru Outback had collided head-on.  Both drivers were pinned in their vehicles and the Ranger was on fire.

Along with several other bystanders and passers-by, Slack helped put out the flames before emergency crews arrived, saving the life of the pickup driver, said Harry Evans, a battalion chief with the Austin Fire Department.  Slack used a fire extinguisher from a school bus driver to put out the flames.

Both accident victims were taken by STAR flight to University Medical Center at Brackenridge.

“Only involve yourself when you can add value,” said Evans.  “Accident scenes are difficult, and we don’t want people becoming more victims.”

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