A young man was saved from his burning vehicle Sunday evening, after a carbon monoxide leak within the truck made him go unconscious.
Turlock resident and City of Turlock employee Raul Rivera, 22, was driving in the 2500 block of West Main Street in Turlock when he began to realize he was having difficulty breathing. Rivera, who is epileptic, thought he was having a seizure and called his mother to inform her that he was driving and was nearby their home.
“I told her I was almost home, and that I thought I was about to have a seizure, when all of a sudden my truck stopped in the middle of the intersection and started rolling,” said Rivera. “I remember a lot of smoke coming into the vehicle and not being able to breathe.”
Rivera, who was in and out of consciousness, says that two bystanders removed him from the vehicle.
“I remember being taken out of my car, and laying on the ground about five or eight feet away, where I could see underneath my vehicle and I saw spits of fire coming up from the engine,” said Rivera. “After that I just remember two bystanders picked me up and took me away from my car, and I was transported to the hospital.”
The Turlock Fire Department and Turlock Police Department both responded to the incident, alongside emergency medical services, at approximately 7:20 p.m. Sunday.
According to the Turlock Fire Department, crews found the vehicle fully involved with heavy smoke and flames upon arrival. Rivera was immediately transported to Emanuel Medical Center, where he was treated for carbon monoxide poisoning.
Rivera, who was released from the hospital on Monday evening, says that he sustained a minor concussion and a bruised shoulder from the incident.
“The doctors told me that carbon monoxide is a silent killer because you don’t know when you’re breathing it in,” said Rivera. “I’m glad I’m okay, but it’s just kind of scary because I was headed out towards the country, and had I gone out any further, I wouldn’t have been in an area with people around to see me, and I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be here right now.”
“My sister thinks it was two angels who pulled me out of the car,” said Rivera. “Either way, it really is a miracle.”