LOS ANGELES — Firefighters were unable to begin efforts to save the life of actress Anne Heshey for 45 minutes after she crashed into a house on Aug. 5, according to fire department records and timestamped recordings of radio communications.
Heche, 53, was taken off life support and died on August 14, nine days after the fire incident.
The recordings, which the Los Angeles Fire Department provided to NBC Los Angeles under the California Public Records Act, reveal that firefighters were unable to reach Heche’s vehicle for at least 20 minutes and that it took at least another 20 minutes to tow the vehicle out of the building. burner to save her.
“Due to the intense fire and smoky conditions, you could not clearly see the vehicle or be able to clearly reach it,” Fire Department Vice Chief Richard Fields He told NBC Los Angeles.
“Dense smoke conditions, dense fire conditions, which makes it very difficult for us to see each other inside a working structure fire,” he said.
Hetchi, best known for her role in “Donnie Brasco” and other films, died of inhalation and heat injuries, the Los Angeles County medical examiner ruled last month. The method was found to be an accident.
A death certificate stated that the date of Heichi’s death was August 11. Her spokesman said on August 12 that she was brain dead but was kept on life support so her organs could be donated.
The fire department said Heche crashed her Mini Cooper into the home in Mar Vista, a West Side neighborhood, at about 10:56 a.m.
She said at the time that it took the firefighters 65 minutes “to reach, confine and extinguish the stubborn fire inside the severely damaged structure and rescue an adult woman found inside the vehicle.”
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According to recordings released to NBC Los Angeles, the first fire engine arrived at the scene at 11:01 a.m., and within seconds, dispatchers radioed a report that a person was trapped in the vehicle that crashed into the house.
“There is someone stuck inside the car,” the dispatcher said.
The first mover directed oncoming paramedics for the immediate treatment of a woman the firefighters had found in the home. Fields, the deputy fire chief, said the patient was initially identified as a resident of the home, not the driver of the car.
At 11:18 a.m., one of the firefighters working on the fire radioed it that no one else was inside, according to the recordings. “We don’t have patients at this time,” the firefighter said.
Four minutes later, at 11:22 a.m., after radio messages from the firefighters interfered inside, one of the accident leaders began asking again about the driver.
“Let me make this clear—so, do you have a patient in the car?” The incident commander said over the radio.
At 11:25 a.m., a firefighter can be heard saying through an oxygen mask that he has found the driver.
“We have identified one patient who cannot be reached at the moment. He has been pushed toward the floorboard!” the firefighter said, according to the recording.
Fields said the patient, now known as Heche, collapsed under the front seats of the Mini Cooper.
Once they found her and made sure she was alive, the firefighters used a heavy tow truck to tow the car – with Heche still inside – from the burning house. Records show that she was pulled out of the wrecked car around 11:49 AM.
“We have one patient in the car, being evaluated, about to be loaded onto the stretcher,” one of the firefighters said over the radio.
The Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office said the investigation into the death is not yet complete.
Heche was first treated at UCLA’s Ronald Reagan Medical Center before being transferred for specialist care to Grossman Burn Center at West Hills Hospital. Her representative said she was in a coma.
The fire department said that even if Heche’s presence in the wrecked car was immediately confirmed, firefighters were unlikely to have responded differently.
An after-work presentation prepared for the fire department staff indicated that it took 30 minutes to fight the fire to the point where it could be rescued.
“I imagine, based on some very experienced officers who started the fight, that they did their best to try and identify someone in the car,” Fields said.
“Our firefighters were doing everything,” he said.
A Heche spokesman had no comment on Thursday. A representative for Homer Laffoon, Heche’s eldest son, also declined to comment.
This article was originally published on NBCNews.com
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