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Man's wheelchair catches on fire at bus stop

Published: Jun. 8, 2015 at 9:45 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 8, 2015 at 10:58 PM CDT
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An East Texas man who is confined to a wheelchair got quite a scare in Longview when his powered wheelchair caught on fire.

It happened at a bus stop in the 700 block of Fourth Street, near Good Shepherd Medical Center, at around 12 p.m. Monday.

Jimmy Drew says he has no idea how it started burning.

“It just caught on fire. I smelled smoke and I looked down. I was waiting on a bus, and it was on fire,” Jimmy said.

A passerby spotted the smoke and called 911.

Another woman shouted advice. 

"Get out of the chair! Get out of the chair! And I said, 'Ma'am, I have nowhere to go,'" Jimmy said.

In the heat of the moment, it would be easy to forget why he was in the chair.

"And somebody else stopped and they had a bottle of water and I asked for the water and I put the fire out," Jimmy revealed.

Longview police and fire were quick to respond. While they were checking to make sure the chair was off, there was more smoke and sparks. They called Longview Transit to make sure the bus could handle a wheelchair, then they helped Jimmy aboard.

"These guys are amazing. You know, they don't get the credit they deserve," Jimmy stated.

Emergency responders decided it was best if Jimmy stayed out of the chair until they could make sure it wouldn't rekindle

"My buddies here are my heroes. I'm their best customer," Jimmy smiled.

Responders went along for the ride just to be on the safe side.

Jimmy tells us the chair was still sparking when he got home so an emergency responder cut some of the wiring. A Dallas-based company called Numotion will either fix or replace the chair this week.

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