Security guard helps injured man after helicopter crash

Security guard helps injured man after helicopter crash »Play Video
Firefighters work to put out flames after the KOMO News helicopter crashed in Seattle, Wash. March 18, 2014.
SEATTLE -- A Fisher Plaza security guard risked his own life Tuesday morning when he ran towards the inferno of a helicopter crash to help a man who had escaped his burning car.

Richard Newman suffered burns on his lower back, arms and torso early Tuesday when the KOMO News helicopter crashed into his car and burst into flames.

Newman was somehow able to free himself from the fiery wreckage, but he was severely injured and still on fire. That's when security guard Brian Post stepped in to help.

Post, a former police officer, ran toward the fire to help Newman.

"I used my hand at first and then his jacket to get the flames out," he said.

After putting out the fire, Post knelt by Newman's side and tried to comfort him until paramedics arrived.

"I tried to talk with him but he wasn't responsive. He was breathing, kind of struggling," Post said. "It was pretty intense."

Newman spent an agonizing 90 seconds trapped inside his burning car before he was able to get out, and Post admits he didn't think the man would survive. While many would say Post is a hero, he said Newman saved himself.

"It was just a will to survive, to get out of the car and get away from the flames - that was it," he said.

Newman was taken to Harborview Medical Center for treatment. Hospital spokesperson Susan Gregg said the 38-year-old suffered second- and third-degree burns on 20 percent of his body. He's also being treated for a head wound and a broken rib.

Gregg said Newman's family is now by his side at the hospital.

"He's got family here and his partner, so they're here," Gregg said. "They were shocked, like everybody else."

Newman, who works primarily as a clinical trials project manager at Genelex in Seattle, is currently in the hospital's intensive care unit and will need surgery for his burns.

Genelex released a statement Tuesday.

"Genelex grieves with our neighbors in the community and at KOMO, and send our hearts out to all who were affected by this morning's tragedy. We are very fond of Richard and respect his family's wishes for privacy as he recovers," the statement reads.

Newman also works as a disease intervention specialist with the King County Public Health Department, and county officials released a statement Tuesday praising his work in the fields of HIV and STD reduction.

"We were stunned to learn of the injuries sustained by our colleague Richard Newman from today's terrible helicopter crash," the statement reads.

"In his role with Public Health, Richard does exceptional work in helping to reduce the impact of HIV and STDs in our community. We're very proud to have him on our team. We send our thoughts and heartfelt wishes to Richard, his family and loved ones on his road to recovery, as well as our deepest condolences to the families of the others our community lost today, Bill Strothman and Gary Pfitzner."