Passing motorist credited with saving trapped driver from flames in Fawn crash
Watching flames engulf a Jeep's front end while a woman was trapped inside is a situation Bill Morio of Buffalo Township hopes he never experiences again.
“It was the most helpless feeling I've ever felt in my life,” Morio said.
Morio was driving home from work along Route 908 in Fawn about 3:30 p.m. when he came upon a two-vehicle wreck at the intersection with Lardintown Road.
“It wasn't just a fender bender,” Morio said. “The whole driver's side (of the Jeep) was crushed in.”
Morio saw the Jeep's driver, Linda Orris, 64, of West Deer, couldn't get out. The door was crushed and the steering wheel bent.
Emergency responders hadn't arrived, and Morio didn't see any bystanders near the Jeep.
“Nobody was doing anything,” Morio said.
Citing his 25 years in the Marine Corps, he added: “Your first thing is to respond.”
The air bags had deployed, and Orris had injured her ankle and wrist.
Morio spoke to her for a few minutes before he noticed flames under the hood.
“I've seen plenty of car fires — I know it only takes a few minutes before a car is engulfed,” said Morio, who has a background in trucking.
Trying not to alarm Orris, Morio yelled for other bystanders to get him a fire extinguisher.
He used one, but it wasn't enough to douse the flames.
Fawn police Officer Erik Bergstrom arrived and emptied a second extinguisher. The flames still weren't out.
Bergstrom said he used the empty extinguisher to break a rear window.
“At that point, we were going to pull her out,” Bergstrom said. “I'd rather have her have broken legs than a burnt body.”
But then someone handed Morio a third extinguisher, and that finished the job.
About that time, firefighters arrived, and they were able to free Orris from the wreckage.
Bergstrom said Orris was taken to UPMC Presbyterian hospital in Pittsburgh; her injuries included a compound fracture in one ankle.
The other driver, Christopher Wisor, 25, of Blairsville, was taken to Allegheny Valley Hospital in Harrison; Bergstrom said Wisor's employer at Porta-John Industries Inc. reported that he was treated for broken ribs and released.
Bergstrom did not expect charges to be filed in the crash.
He said no one witnessed the accident, but it appears Orris pulled from Lardintown Road in front of Wisor's Ford F-350 flatbed truck that was hauling two portable toilets.
Bergstrom noted the intersection, which is on a curve at the bottom of a hill, has vegetation that can make it difficult to see oncoming cars.
Bergstrom thanked Morio for his efforts.
“If it wasn't for that man right there, that lady would have burned,” he said. “She's a very lucky lady.”
Morio noted he just started a new job this week. He normally would have taken Route 28 home, but instead used a “back way” on Tuesday that put him on Route 908.
“Everything happens for a reason,” Morio said. “I absolutely believe God put me in the right place to help her.”
Liz Hayes is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4680 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Second teen charged in Jan. 1 Tarentum shooting
- ‘I can’t get rid of the house’: Arnold home hit by car last year struck again
- Arnold woman severely injured in Allegheny Township wreck
- ATI steam explosion in Harrison rocked homes in four counties
- Lower Burrell 5th-grader illustrates power of kindness with cancer charity
- Tarentum service honors legacy of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
- Riverview might ask to raise taxes above 2.3% limit
- Weather postpones Route 56 closure in New Kensington
- Harrison man retiring to end 20-year NFL officiating career
- Corps advises to haul radioactive waste out of Parks Township dump
- Woman killed in Washington Township crash