Around 11:45 a.m. on Wednesday, emergency crews responded to 911 calls about a person on fire in a street in Northeast Portland.
The family’s neighbor, who witnessed the tragic scene, said a man was unloading his 9-month-old baby from the family’s SUV when a branch broke because of an ice storm. The falling tree branch caused a power line to smash into the vehicle.
KPTV reported, “The fallen line sparked a small fire under or near the car, and the baby’s mother yelled for the man to get her child back out of the car and to safety. As the father did so, he slipped on the ice and fell, his feet hitting the live power line. The toddler’s mother ran to help them, and she too slipped and fell, hitting the line. Where they touched the line, smoke began to rise.”
Portland Fire and Rescue members found the bodies of three people lying in the street approximately 35 feet away from the vehicle, according to KTVL.
Emergency crews attempted to perform life-saving procedures on the individuals, but they all died.
A power line was draped over the hood of the full-sized SUV with a large branch on the top of the power line.
Rick Graves of Portland Fire and Rescue explained, “The vehicle was electrified, so when they touched the ground and the vehicle, the electrical current ran through them, and the end result is we have three deceased individuals.”
The baby’s mother was killed in the freak accident, and the 21-year-old mom was six months pregnant at the time of her death. The mother’s 15-year-old brother — Ta’Ron Briggs — also died. The mother’s boyfriend — who was the father of the infant — also passed away.
Ronald Briggs — the father of Ta’Ron and the young mother — said he and his wife were headed to the grocery store when they heard a loud sound.
“We heard a loud boom. And my wife’s like, ‘Oh my god, their car is on fire,'” Briggs told KGW.
Briggs explained, “They were walking up the hill and they slid back down. My daughter tried to grab her boyfriend, her baby’s dad with the baby, and his foot touched the wire.”
Ta’Ron allegedly slid from the ice and touched water — which electrocuted him to death as well.
Briggs said, “It just hurts. Seeing my kids dying — I can’t do nothing about it.”
“I have six kids, I lost two of them in one day,” the grieving father added.
A neighbor, Majiah Washington, rushed to save the baby — who was still in the arms of the father.
“In my mind, I’m just thinking ‘I have to get this baby.’ That’s the only thing I was thinking: ‘I have to get this baby,'” Washington recalled.
The 9-month-old was rushed to a local hospital and is said to be in good condition.
Briggs stated, “His dad saved his life — he laid on top of his dad.”
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