A tree fell on a car and its driver Friday night after a two-vehicle rollover accident on Interstate 205. The driver was taken to an area hospital with life-threatening injuries; the cause of the crash is still under investigation.
The Vancouver Fire Department was dispatched at 9:46 p.m. to a rollover accident on northbound I-205, south of the Padden Parkway exit.
Two vehicles had left the roadway and came to rest on the east side of I-205, according to the VFD. One vehicle was found approximately 50 feet off of the roadway, on its side. The driver was able to escape the vehicle and was being cared for by good Samaritans who had stopped to help, when VFD personnel arrived. She was treated on scene by paramedics and then transported by ambulance to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
The second vehicle left the roadway, rolled and struck a tree, which caved in the roof of the SUV. The vehicle came to rest on its tires, but the trunk of the tree broke off 8 to 10 feet above the ground and fell on top of the vehicle, trapping the driver inside. The driver was conscious. Initial crews worked to stabilize the fallen tree in order to safely extricate the driver.
More help arrived and went to work removing damaged parts of the vehicle with cutting and spreading tools. The driver was removed and transported by American Medical Response to a local hospital with life-threatening injuries.
A tow truck from TLC Towing was called to lift the tree with a crane boom so firefighters could safely ensure there were no other occupants in the second vehicle. None were found.
A total of seven VFD apparatus were on scene with 18 firefighters and command staff. As of Saturday morning, the cause of the accident was under investigation by the Washington State Patrol.
Late Saturday afternoon, firefighter-spokesman Joe Hudson of the Vancouver Fire Department said his agency had not responded to any major heat-related mishaps or fires.
“We have some extra staffing today. Extra rigs including our fire boat out on the river to monitor activity, and some rigs to take care of bark dust fire and outdoor fires,” he said. “We have extra crews ready to go, and we’ve got our rehab bus — that’s an air-conditioned vehicle that can move around and facilitate a cool environment for people involved in any incident.
“We’re prepared, but we’re not overwhelmed,” Hudson said. “It’s been busy, but that’s usual. Vancouver is inherently busy.”