Newly released records show that Anne Heche was trapped inside her burning vehicle for 45 minutes before firefighters were able to rescue her after the Aug. 5th car crash that ultimately led to her death.
NBC4 published timestamped audio recording on Thursday, Sept 1st. In them, listeners can hear the Los Angeles Fire Department’s response to the accident. It took firefighters 20 mins to get to her Mini Cooper and over 20 more minutes to pull her from the car.
Anne Heche died one week after the accident due to smoke inhalation and thermal injuries.
“Given the heavy fire and smoke conditions, it wasn’t that you could clearly see into the vehicle or clearly be able to access it,” LAFD Deputy Chief Richard Fields told the station.
NBC4 reported that the LAFD arrived at the scene at exactly 11:01 a.m. Within moments, first responders confirmed that there was “a person stuck inside the vehicle.”
Deputy Fields later said that they were referring to the owner of the home, not Anne Heche.
First Responders Did Not Immediately See Anne Heche in the Burning Wreckage
At 11:18 a.m., a firefighter claimed that there were no other victims. But at 11:22 a.m., a commander asked the firefighter to confirm their report.
“Let me clear this up,” they asked. “So – you do have a patient in the car?”
It took another three minutes before a firefighter saw Heche’s body in the vehicle.
“We have identified one patient, inaccessible at this time, he’s pushed up against the floorboard!” the rescuer yelled.
Fields added that the firefighters missed the actress because she was not in the driver’s seat. Instead, she had fallen below the front seats of the car.
“I will say that where the person was in the vehicle was not in the driver’s seat, but on the floorboard of the passenger seat,” he said.
Around 11:49 a.m., Anne Heche was finally pulled from the flames. To remove her, rescuers used a tow truck to remove the car from the burning house.
“We have one patient in the auto, being assessed, about to be loaded up on the gurney for transport,” said another firefighter.
Ambulances rushed Heche to the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center and then transferred her to the Grossman Burn Center at West Hills Hospital. Initially, doctors believed she would survive her injuries. But she slipped into a coma shortly after.
Anne Heche was declared brain dead on Aug. 11, 2022. And was removed from life support four days later. The actress was 53 years old.