A man whose apartment burned in a fire that began after a minivan crashed into his Garden Grove home Thursday morning helped his family escape from the residence before rescuing the driver from the burning vehicle.
The resident and a neighbor pulled the driver from a burning minivan after he crashed into a utility pole and their apartment complex. The 56-year-old driver suffered what police described as a "medical emergency" early Thursday before crashing into the pole and across a lawn. The minivan then slammed through the exterior wall of the Lamplighter Village apartment complex in the 13000 block of Magnolia Avenue.
The vehicle caught on fire and flames spread into an occupied apartment.
Resident Jesus Dominguez's unit was struck by the car. The 22-year-old man rounded up five family members and got them out of the apartment before helping a neighbor pull the driver out of the burning vehicle.
The driver was the only person injured and was taken to UC Irvine Hospital.
"He is in fair condition....miraculously. He could have potentially died," Garden Grove Police Master Offcr. Nathan Morton said.
The apartment that caught fire was deemed uninhabitable. Six residents, including Dominguez, will not be allowed to return home because of the damage.
Residents at the building said the force of the crash was so strong, they thought they were experiencing a natural disaster.
"It was kind of like a small earthquake, it just kinda heard like a 'boom' and then it kinda shook the building," resident Angel Diaz said.
About a dozen residents have been forced out of their homes because of the incident. Possibly dozens of neighborhood residents are without power due to downed power lines and power will likely not be restored until tonight, according to an NBC4 report.
Alcohol and drugs do not appear to factors in the crash, according to an initial investigation.
Dominguez was given a "Chief's Coin" by Garden Grove Police. The recognition for "citizens who have gone out of their way to assist others" comes with an invitation to the Chief's Coin dinner next year.