Driver crashes car into house, catches on fire

Credit: NBC Charlotte

Driver crashes car into house, catches on fire


by AMY COWMAN / NBC Charlotte

Bio | Email | Follow: @amywcnc

Posted on August 15, 2013 at 4:34 PM

Updated Thursday, Aug 15 at 6:31 PM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A car slammed into a home near WT Harris Boulevard, knocking the home from its foundation. Neighbors rushed into action to save the driver trapped in his car.

"I heard a skidding sound and started sliding and skidding, and then I heard a loud crash go boom," said witness Philip Petty.

Neighbor Philip Petty ran out of his house, saw the car crashed into a home and sprang into action when he saw the driver, 34-year-old Hasielm Payne on fire.

"I seen when he raised him arm up, when he freed his arm he had fire on his arm so his skin was burning," said Petty.

(Click here to view photos from the scene)

Other Good Samaritan neighbors rushed to help Petty save the man's life.

"We started throwing water in there and putting the fire out and we smothered the fire with water, then it came back up," said Petty.

Witnesses say that neighbors used a red cooler here to fill with water and pour on Payne while they waited for the fire department to arrive.

"That's when I ran back and got the fire extinguisher and one of the young fellas took it and was putting it on the engine," said neighbor, Norma Black.

The Charlotte Fire Department arrived on the scene and freed Payne from the car; he was transported by Medic to the hospital. One man was inside the house when the crash happened but wasn't injured.

Neighbor Norma Black says she's lost many mailboxes because of this dangerous curve.

"We have so many wrecks at this corner, this intersection," said Black.

Police confirm the driver was speeding; neighbors say he flew by.

"The neighbor two houses down said when he came by it looked like he was going over a 100 miles an hour," said Black.

Though Petty says he and the others don't consider themselves heroes, if they hadn't stepped in, the outcome could have been much different.

"I'm glad I was here to help, cause he could have been burnt whole lot worse than what we has," said Petty.

Payne is fighting for his life in the hospital. Police say alcohol was not a factor but excessive speed was in the crash.