A gas main damaged in the crash produced a high-pressure leak that firefighters were fortunately able to keep from igniting.
Annie Blanks @DestinLogAnnie
MARY ESTHER — One person was sent to the hospital following a fiery car crash in Mary Esther early Friday morning.
Florosa Volunteer Fire Department Deputy Chief Brad Williams said a 911 call about a motor vehicle accident across from the Tom Thumb convenience store at 1480 Highway 98 West came in at 6:42 a.m. Friday. While en route, fire officials were advised the car was on fire and a gas leak was involved.
Williams said the car fire was fully involved and threatening a nearby residential home. A gas main in front of the home had also been damaged in the crash, and a high pressure leak was threatening to ignite. All residents of the home were safely evacuated as a precaution.
Florosa firefighters, along with Mary Esther and Hurlburt firefighters, extinguished the flames before they damaged the home or ignited the gas leak. Okaloosa Gas authorities responded and secured the leak.
According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the driver of the vehicle, 29-year-old Zachary Fleming of Maryland, was traveling east on Highway 98 when he attempted to change lanes and lost control of his 2006 Lexus IS350. Fleming entered onto the south shoulder of the highway and collided with a power pole, natural gas line meter and a tree before his vehicle burst into flames.
Fleming was transported to the hospital with minor injuries. He was charged with careless driving and driving with a suspended license.
The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office, Florida Highway Patrol and Okaloosa EMS also responded to the crash.