Strangers rush to help crash victims in ‘incredible display of community’

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BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. -- When a multivehicle crash sparked a fire, strangers rushed to help the victims in any way they could.

A van was crushed between an RTD bus and a semitruck in a crash at 66th Street and Arapahoe Road in Boulder County on Monday morning. A silver sedan then crashed into the back of the bus.

The van caught fire and one person was trapped, according to the Boulder County Sheriff's Office.

A witness said the man who was trapped was screaming and saying he couldn't breathe.

"Me and another lady approached the car and we prayed with the guy, and encouraged him that help was on the way," the man said. "All the local business were grabbing fire extinguishers and jumping onto the bus, extinguishing any flames they could.

"There's nothing left of the van. The guy was fairly mobile inside the cab, reaching his arm out, just asking for any help."

The man said the response from Boulder Fire Rescue was very fast. He said there were seven or eight fire trucks within a couple minutes of the crash.

"We just saw a huge plume of smoke," the man said. "We were about a quarter of a mile back when that happened. ... We knew there was an accident, but we couldn't see how bad it was until we got up close.

"It looks like it's just the bus and the big rig, then you realize the van is crushed in between them."

"You prayed with him while the van was on fire?" a woman asked. "What was that like?"

"To know how big our God is, it was pretty incredible. Just to know that he was safe, that he was talking," the man said. "The least I could do was pray. I couldn't help the man."

Another man said he couldn't believe the driver was alive inside the wreckage of the van.

"I mean, how can a van be squashed like that and a man survive?" David Wolf said. "They managed to get the gentleman out. He was mobile, definitely some broken bones, but he's alive.

"It was an incredible display of community. Having everybody with every fire extinguisher that was available, I mean, literally, with bottles of water, coming out to put out these fires that were slowly kicking up because of the gasoline."

The driver of the van was transported to the hospital with serious injuries, according to the Colorado State Patrol.

The driver of the bus was transported to Boulder Community Health. There was no information available about the bus driver's injuries. A witness said there were no passengers on the bus.

One person in the silver sedan suffered moderate injuries and another was not hurt, the CSP confirmed.

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