Anne Heche, 53, was taken off life support on August 14, nine days after the catastrophic incident.
The records, obtained to NBC Los Angeles by the Los Angeles Fire Department under the California Public Records Act, show that firefighters couldn’t get to her vehicle for at least 20 minutes, and it took another 20 minutes to take the automobile out of the blazing structure to rescue Heche.
“Given the severe fire and smoke circumstances, you couldn’t easily see inside or reach the car,” LAFD Deputy Chief Richard Fields told NBC Los Angeles.
“Heavy smoke and fire circumstances make it extremely tough for us to merely see each other on the interior of a functioning building fire,” he said.
The Los Angeles County medical examiner found last month that Heche, renowned for her roles in “Donnie Brasco” and other films, died of inhalation and heat burns. The method was discovered to be an accident.
Heche died on August 11, according to her death certificate. According to her spokeswoman, she was brain-dead but was kept on life support so her organs might be donated.
According to the LAFD, Heche smashed her Mini Cooper into a residence in Mar Vista, a neighborhood on the city’s west side, at about 10:56 a.m.
According to the agency, it took 65 minutes for firemen to “access, restrict, and entirely extinguish the persistent flames inside the highly damaged building, and rescue one female adult located within the car.”
According to the audio obtained by NBC Los Angeles, the first LAFD engine arrived at the site at 11:01 a.m., and dispatchers radioed a report that a person was trapped in the automobile that had smashed into the home within seconds.
“There is a person trapped inside the car,” stated the dispatcher.
The first engine urged incoming paramedics to treat a lady located in the house by firefighters quickly. According to Fields, the deputy head of the fire department, the patient who was first identified was a resident of the residence, not the driver of the automobile.
For the first few minutes, Anne Heche was unidentified.
According to the recordings, at 11:18 a.m., one of the firefighters working on the fire radioed that there was no one else inside. “We don’t have any patients right now,” the fireman said.
At 11:22 a.m., following overlapping radio transmissions from firefighters inside, one of the incident commanders started to inquire about the driver once again.
“Let me clarify, so — you have a patient in the car?” they said over the radio.
At 11:25 a.m., a fireman, who can be heard speaking through an oxygen mask on the tape, announced he had discovered the driver.
According to the tape, the fireman remarked, “We have located one patient, unreachable at this moment. He’s shoved up against the floorboard!”
Fields said that the patient, now identified as Heche, had slumped under the front seats of her Mini Cooper.
When she was discovered and verified to be alive, firefighters utilized a heavy-duty tow vehicle to remove the automobile from the burning house, with Heche still inside. According to reports, she was rescued from the mangled car at 11:49 a.m.
“We have one patient in the car, being examined and getting ready to load up on the gurney for transfer,” a fireman stated over the radio.
The coroner’s office in Los Angeles County said the death inquiry was not completed.
Heche was first treated at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center before being transported to the Grossman Burn Center at West Hills Hospital for specialist treatment. Her spokesperson said that she was in a coma after the incident.