UPDATE | Passerby pulls man out of burning van

Published: May. 1, 2019 at 5:54 PM EDT
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UPDATE 5/1/19 @ 10 p.m.

A man's drive through Ashland turned into a fiery nightmare.

Police say witnesses near the Ashland Town Center reported seeing a van smoking as it was travelling north on U.S. 23.

"The vehicle became engulfed in flames," Ashland Police Chief Todd Kelley said. "The individual was unable to get out."

Witnesses also reported hearing an explosion near the River Hill Drive entrance where the van ended up.

"The callers reporting to 911 were indicating the individual was on fire," Kelley said.

The chief says a Good Samaritan driving by stopped and pulled the victim out of the burning van before emergency responders arrived.

Kelley says if the brave passerby hadn't stepped in, the victim almost certainly wouldn't have had a chance.

"I'm very proud of someone who'd risk their life to save someone else," Kelley said. "It was a tremendous effort. It's something you don't want to say go ahead and do, but sometimes people just go with their adrenaline and do things like that."

Investigators with the Ashland fire and police departments are looking into what started the fire.

Police say the victim suffered upper body burns and was taken to KDMC before being sent to a burn unit.

Kelley says there were aerosol cans in the van that may have exploded after the fire started.

UPDATE 5/1/19 @ 6:45 p.m.

Ashland firefighters say a man suffered severe burns Wednesday evening after his van caught fire on U.S. 23.

They say a person who was driving by saw the fire and pulled the driver out of the burning van. It happened on U.S. 23 (Winchester Avenue), not far from the Ashland Town Center.

Crews say the victim was injured too severely to be flown immediately, so he was taken to King's Daughters Medical Center to be treated first before he’s sent to a burn unit.

They say no one else was in the van.

One lane of U.S. 23 North is shut down as crews process the scene and investigate what caused the fire.

Keep checking the WSAZ App for the latest information.


Crews are responding to a vehicle fire that has a major road shut down in Ashland.

Boyd County 911 dispatchers tell WSAZ the fire is on Winchester Avenue.

All eastbound and westbound lanes are closed near the mall.

"Please avoid the inbound and outbound viaducts in the area of the Ashland Town Center," an alert states.

We have a crew on the way to the scene.

Keep checking the WSAZ App for the latest information.