NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – Quick thinking bystanders and first responders who happened to be in the right place at the right time helped care for a motorcyclist who went to the hospital with serious injuries following a fiery crash Wednesday.
Norfolk police said a motorcyclist and a car collided near the intersection of Granby Street and Marcy Street before bursting into flames.
The crash happened just down the road from a fire academy. Wednesday night was graduation for the newest recruits. A fire chief and firefighter from Navy Region Mid-Atlantic Fire and Emergency Services were on their way home when they came across flames in the middle of the street.
“I was watching TV just hanging out for the day and I just hear this really loud bang outside. Huge, huge bang,” said Vincent Lucena.
Lucena lives on Granby Street just feet from where the crash happened and tells us the fire erupted within seconds of impact. He grabbed a kitchen fire extinguisher and ran outside. The scene unfolded so quickly Lucena forgot to put on shoes and was barefoot in the street.
“I was afraid that car was going to explode,” Lucena said. “That’s how big that fire was.”
Lucena went to the female driver, who was visibly shaken.
“I looked to my right and what I thought was debris was the motorcyclist on the ground and no one had noticed him yet,” Lucena stated.
Lucena checked to see if the man was still breathing. He was. That’s when firefighter and EMT Christopher Florio arrived.
“Just as we left the building and were driving down the road we noticed something was on fire,” Florio told 10 On Your Side.
After more than a decade working in emergency services, Florio, who works for Navy Region Mid-Atlantic, said he’s always ready to jump into action even when he’s least expecting it.
“This is the first time I’ve ever rolled up on an accident just like that,” Florio said.
He jumped out of his car and immediately ran to the motorcyclist laying in the road.
“We were able to get in there and start rendering aid immediately,” Florio said. “We really just wanted to stabilize the patient after we realized the fire wasn’t exactly a threat at that time.”
Florio and his Navy Region fire chief continued to care for the man until an ambulance arrived.
“We do what we’re trained to do and we do it where we’re supposed to do,” Florio said.
Norfolk police are still investigating what caused the crash.
Navy Region Mid-Atlantic Fire and Emergency Services is currently taking applications for its spring recruit class. If you’d like to learn more, you can email DirectHireFire@navy.mil.