New Brighton police film response to flaming car on I-694

It’s not every day that residents get to see their local emergency responders in action, but on Oct. 2 it wasn’t only rubbernecking drivers who were able to witness firefighters and police coordinate a response to an emergency situation on the highway. A Facebook Live video began reeling onto social media around 7:15 p.m. from a New Brighton Department of Public Safety employee’s mobile phone — it shows a handful of firefighters working to extinguish a vehicle ablaze on I-694 at Long Lake Road, an incident that caused significant traffic back-ups that Sunday evening. 

Facebook Live has been used recently as a tool by witnesses and bystanders attempting to document sometimes controversial interactions with police across the nation. 

Diamond Reynolds, the girlfriend of Philando Castile, a black man who was fatally shot by a St. Anthony police officer during a traffic stop in Falcon Heights July 6, filmed the incident’s aftermath using Facebook Live, drawing international attention. 

“We’re going to do more of these Facebook Live videos,” said Trever Hamdorf, New Brighton deputy fire chief and crime prevention officer. “It’s a great way for us to connect with the community and allow people to stay informed and see what’s going on around them.”Hamdorf said the exact cause of the car blaze is unknown.

“It seems like it had started in the engine compartment,” Hamdorf said, noting that the driver was able to get out of the vehicle before the fire department arrived.

As the video shows, by the time units did arrive the car was fully engulfed. The video can be viewed on the department’s Facebook page. 

Hamdorf said the driver stood by watching the car burn as police closed the on-ramp from Long Lake Road to eastbound I-694 and the righthand lane on the highway. The car itself sat in the painted median       triangle between the ramp and the right lane, where cars merge onto the highway.

Hamdorf said once firefighters approached the vehicle, they were able to put out the flames in about 90 seconds; the closed lanes were only shut down for about 20 minutes, he said. 

 
New Brighton police share their emergency response to a car on fire on the highway via Facebook Live. They plan to share more with residents using the the live-streaming app. 

“Traffic was pretty backed up,” Hamdorf said. “And there was a secondary crash with property damage on I-694 behind the burning car, where somebody probably wasn’t paying attention and rear-ended someone else who had slowed down.”

According to police, there were no injuries from the fire or the subsequent car crash.

The NBDPS posts updates, incidents and other information on its Facebook page on a regular basis, and according to Hamdorf, live and archived videos will join the typical text updates more often in the future.

 

Jesse Poole can be reached at jpoole@lillienews.com or at 651-748-7815.

 

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