Local News

Flames Light Up Selma Sky After Car Collides With Tanker

Posted April 4, 2003

— A car collided with a tanker truck early Friday morning in Johnston County, lighting up the night sky by sending flames 40 feet into the air in a frightening scene.

The scene could have turned tragic if not for a quick-responding police officer.

Three-hundred gallons of gasoline burst into flames shortly after midnight in Selma after a woman in a car rear-ended a tanker as it was trying to make a left turn. Despite the amazing scene, both drivers made it out alive before the massive explosion.

The accident 12:30 a.m. Friday on Oak Road, near Buffalo Road. The tanker was driven by Bennie Parker, 607 South Massey St, Selma. The car involved was a 2001 Volkswagon driven by 28-year-old Ann Comerford of Selma.

The volkswagon caught on fire, causing the tanker to burn also. The Selma and Wilsons Mills volunteer fired deparments responded, and extinguished the fire.

Comerford, who was charged with failure to reduce speed, was treated for minor injuries at the hospital and released. Parker was not injured.

Police officer Tim Tyna was the first to arrive on the scene. Seeing Comerford's car engulfed in flames, he knew he had precious few seconds to try and rescue her before an explosion might occur. He took a risk and saved her life.

"When we first arrived, the car was in flames," Tyna said. "I took a fire extinguisher and put the flames down enough for the girl to climb out the window."

Tyna said that had he arrived as much as a minute later, Comerford would not have survived.

"She's very lucky to get out before the flames really got to her," he said. "She's a lucky girl to get out and not be hurt real bad."

The cleanup efforts could continue for a while. Foam used to put out the fire and sand used to dry out slick spots coated the road Friday morning, and the road may not be completely cleared until Saturday.

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