A man was seriously injured Monday evening in a car fire at the intersection of Virginia Street and Central Avenue, Beckley Fire Department Lt. Ernie Parsons reported Thursday.

The victim, an adult male who had been driving the car, was on life support in a Huntington hospital Thursday morning due to burns sustained in the fire, a relative reported to The Register-Herald.

The man's identity was not released by the fire department and deferred a reporter to Beckley Police. The investigating office was not available Friday to release the information.

"It was a pretty traumatic experience," Lt. Parsons said Thursday. "We don't see that every day.

"Usually, when there's a car fire, it's unoccupied; it was pretty unusual to roll up and have a car fire and there also be a burn victim."

Parsons said the blaze apparently started between 6 and 7 p.m. Monday, near Beckley Fire Station #1 on Third Avenue. Firefighters received a dispatch call from the Raleigh County Emergency Operations Center.

The fire had fully engulfed the vehicle by the time emergency crews arrived, according to Parson's statements.

When firefighters arrived, they noted that a man who had witnessed the fire had pulled the driver from the burning car. A woman who lived in the neighborhood had brought blankets, and the two provided care for the victim until firefighters arrived. Their names were not provided by Parsons.

"We initiated patient care of the passenger and also, simultaneously, had extinguishing efforts to put the car fire out," Parsons said. 

Jan-Care Ambulance crews arrived and assumed care of the victim, he added.

Once the car fire was extinguished, firefighters took special care to make sure that the blaze wouldn't reignite. They also called an ambulance for the man who had assisted the driver. The man was experiencing shortness of breath, said Parsons.

The incident is under investigation by Beckley Police Patrolman J.L. McNeeley.

Parsons praised the efforts of the civilians who assisted prior to firefighters' arrival.

"Those folks that risked their own safety to help this guy, they deserve lots of acknowledgement for coming to this guy's aid," said Parsons. "Good citizens are out there, willing to help out — not just watch."

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