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'God was on her side': Woman escapes van before it burst into flames

Witness says woman was at risk of being burned to death, electrocuted

SAN ANTONIO – A van burst into flames Tuesday morning after coming into contact with a downed power line on the North Side.

Hollywood Park police Lt. Sam Williams said the woman was turning into a Valero at Loop 1604 and Voight Drive when she heard something hit her roof. Williams said she stopped her car and smelled smoke, then saw flames.

"She immediately jumps out of her vehicle and runs south to the back, away from her vehicle," Williams said. "When our patrol units pulled up and I pulled up, the vehicle was engulfed in flames."

Patrick Ryan Neill, a witness who was pumping gas at the time of the incident, said he and several others were urging her to stay inside her vehicle because the power line was draped over her driver's side door.

The woman was able to open the side door of the van and jumped out before the van was consumed by flames. Neill said she risked being burned to death or electrocuted.

"God was on her side," Niell said.

Firefighters were able to put out the flames and Hollywood Park police posted a photo of the charred van.

The woman wasn't injured, but Williams said she was visibly shaken up. 

Hollywood Park police said the incident knocked out power in the area.

CPS Energy sent KSAT the following statements:

"We are investigating what happened regarding the incident that occurred this morning. 

We want customers to be aware of hazards presented by downed power lines. If you come across a low or fallen line, contact (210) 353-HELP (4357) to report the location of the downed power line as soon as possible. Anyone who comes across downed power lines should not go near them and should treat them as if they are live.  If you see someone who is in direct or indirect contact with the downed line, for your safety, do not touch the person. Please call 911 for help instead."

"Typically, a primary voltage line carries up to 19 KV (kilovolts). Storms significantly hit our system on the North side of our service area causing numerous outages and crews are working diligently to restore power throughout the city."

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story stated the van crashed into the utility pole. Police, however, said the car caught fire after coming into contact with a downed power line.


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