Teens rescue elderly woman on beach

A firefighter extinquishes a car that caught fire on the beach.

OCEAN PARK — Just after 3 p.m. Sunday, Pacific County Fire District No. 1 was dispatched to a reported vehicle fire behind a residence at 305th and G Street. 

Ilwaco resident Sherry Berteaux says she and her teenage sons, Josh and Zak, had set out to go beachcombing at Leadbetter when they saw black smoke coming from the beach.

“We walked up over the dunes and as soon we did, we saw black smoke next to this car, and I thought, ‘Who would be stupid enough to have a bonfire next to their car?’” Berteaux recalls. 

Josh, a Pacific County Fire District No. 1 cadet, determined that the smoke was coming from the car and saw an elderly woman who had fallen down nearby. The brothers ran to help the woman, who Berteaux described as being disoriented. She says Josh used his cell phone to call for help as he held the woman back from trying to return to the burning car.

The first arriving fire crew arrived on scene about 3:15 p.m. in the area of the outflow near 350th and F Place, to find a fully involved vehicle fire on the beach. The fire was quickly extinguished and the driver of the vehicle was transported by ambulance to Ocean Beach Hospital. The vehicle was a total loss.

A total of 10 fire and medical personnel responded on four District apparatus. The scene was turned over to Washington State Patrol for ongoing investigation.

“We’ve never been to that part of the beach before,” Berteaux wrote on her Facebook page that night. “It was meant to be. They saved a life I’m sure! … And mom found lots of shells.”

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