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Man recounts fiery escape from truck

Man recounts fiery escape from truck

Raul Rivera Jr. doesn’t remember all the details about the day his truck caught on fire, but he does know he was lucky to escape the blaze.


POSTED July 12, 2013 9:36 p.m.

 

Raul Rivera Jr. describes his deliverance from the flames racing through his truck as nothing short of a miracle.

Lying unconscious in the cab as the fire spread, Rivera has no recollection of how he ended up on the street out of harm’s way, but he is certain on one thing.

“There were angels with me that day,” Rivera said.

Rivera’s fiery escape began the afternoon of June 30. After visiting his parents he was returning home in his 1991 Dodge Ram when he began to feel unwell.

“I was having trouble breathing and started to feel really light-headed and kept having these micro-sleeps,” Rivera said. “I’m epileptic and I thought I was having a seizure. Usually, I’m pretty good at controlling my seizures, but this time nothing was working.”

The 22-year-old Rivera said he remembers calling his mother to come pick him up, but then the details start to get fuzzy.

“I passed out and woke up to horns honking at me,” Rivera said. “I was in the intersection and had almost been hit.”

Rivera said he was trying to get out of his truck when thick, black smoke started filling the cab and he lost consciousness again.

The Dodge had come to a stop at the intersection of W. Main Street and S. Tully Road.

“The next thing I remember is being on the ground and dragged away from the truck. There was smoke pouring out of it and I could see a few flames. I tried to stand and my legs gave out from underneath me and I think I must have knocked myself out.”

Rivera was pulled from the truck just as the flames became a raging blaze that scorched the truck inside and out.

At the hospital Rivera learned it was carbon monoxide poisoning and not an epileptic seizure that caused his confusion and lapse in consciousness.

Rivera also suffered a concussion and a bruised shoulder from his ordeal.

“To think I made it out of there without a single burn is pretty amazing,” Rivera said.

The cause of the carbon monoxide leak has not been determined.

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