Files show that Anne Heche was trapped in a burning home for 45 minutes
Actress Anne Heche crashed into a house on August 5, and according to fire department records and time-stamped recordings of radio exchanges, it took firefighters 45 minutes to begin rescuing attempts.
Nine days after the catastrophic incident, on August 14, Heche, 53, had his life support turned off.
The recordings, which were released by the Los Angeles Fire Department to NBC Los Angeles in accordance with the California Public Records Act, show that it took firefighters at least 20 minutes to gain access to Heche is vehicle, and another 20 minutes to pull the vehicle out of the burning building in order to rescue her.
Deputy Fire Chief Richard Fields explained to NBC Los Angeles, “Given the heavy fire and smoke conditions, it was not that you could clearly see into the vehicle or clearly be able to access it.”
A working structure fire has “heavy smoke conditions and heavy fire conditions,” he explained, making it impossible for firefighters to simply see each other.
Heche, who was famous for her roles in “Donnie Brasco” and other films, was found to have died last month from inhalation and thermal burns, according to the Los Angeles County medical examiner’s report. It was determined that the manner was accidental.
According to the death certificate, Heche passed away on August 11. She was declared brain dead on August 12, but her organs were being preserved by keeping her on life support.
The fire department said that at 10:56 a.m., Heche slammed her Mini Cooper into a house in the Mar Vista neighbourhood on the west side of Los Angeles.
According to reports at the time, it took 65 minutes for firemen to “access, confine and fully extinguish the stubborn flames within the heavily damaged structure and rescue one female adult found within the vehicle.”
Dispatchers reported that someone was trapped in the vehicle that had smashed into the house shortly after the first fire engine arrived at the site at 11:01 a.m., as evidenced by the audio provided to NBC Los Angeles.
“There is a person stuck inside the vehicle,” the dispatcher said.
A woman was found inside the house, and the first engine dispatched paramedics to treat her immediately. The deputy fire chief, Fields, claimed that at first the patient was thought to be the car’s driver when in fact he or she was a resident of the house.