On Friday, January 28, 2022 at about 4:36 AM, Lincoln City Police, along with North Lincoln Fire & Rescue, were dispatched to the Lighthouse Square parking lot on a report of a vehicle on fire at that location. Lincoln City Police Officer Andrew Johnson was the first to arrive on scene where he found a green Toyota van on fire, with flames fully engulfing the engine compartment. Officer Johnson attempted to check the interior of the van and found it was completely inundated by smoke. While looking around the vehicle, the front passenger tire exploded from the heat of the fire.
As the flames were advancing into the passenger compartment, Officer Johnson checked the driver’s side of the vehicle and discovered an elderly man in the driver’s seat. The man appeared to be somewhat disoriented and Officer Johnson had to reach into the burning vehicle, grab the man, and pull him out of the vehicle. After pulling the man out of the vehicle, Officer Johnson dragged him to safety as the flames began overtaking the interior of the vehicle.
Fire units from North Lincoln Fire & Rescue arrived on scene, along with Pacific West Ambulance. Fire personnel quickly got the fire under control and then extinguished. The van occupant, later identified as 69-year-old Richard McMillen of Battle Ground Washington, was checked at the scene, but he did not appear to have any visible burn injuries. Mr. McMillen was transported by ambulance to Samaritan North Lincoln Hospital for further medical evaluation and treatment.
The scene investigation determined that the fire started in the van’s engine compartment, from an unknown cause, but the fire did not appear suspicious in nature. It is believed that Mr. McMillen had fallen asleep in the van, which had been left running for warmth on that cold morning. Lincoln City Police thanked first responder partners, North Lincoln Fire & Rescue and Pacific West Ambulance for their quick response and assistance with this incident.