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Old 08-27-2009, 12:38 PM
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Default Calif. firefighter saves driver before train hits


OXNARD, Calif. A California firefighter pulled a trapped driver from his disabled pickup just seconds before a commuter train slammed into the truck Thursday morning.

The pickup wound up on the tracks after colliding with a sport utility vehicle. At about 5:30 a.m. Thursday, a firefighter was inside the pickup trying to free the driver, and another firefighter was outside the vehicle, Oxnard Fire Department spokeswoman Deborah O'Malia said.

Then the rail signals started flashing and crossing guards dropped down over the accident scene.

O'Malia said the firefighters freed the driver just seconds before the train hit.

"They managed to pull this guy out. They would have been killed," O'Malia said.

The train struck the pickup, which flipped into air and landed in a gully.

"They were lucky they didn't get hit by the truck," O'Malia said.

The Metrolink train stopped and remained at the scene for more than an hour while investigators examined the wreckage. Metrolink spokesman Francisco Oaxaca said no one on the train was hurt and that train and a second Los Angeles-bound train were delayed 90 minutes.

Ambulances took the injured SUV driver and pickup driver to nearby St. John's Regional Medical Center. O'Malia said their injuries were not life threatening.

The names of the firefighters and crash victims weren't disclosed.
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