Treasure Valley race car driver upset after emergency response in fiery accident
During the filming of our show, we get involved with all things that have an engine. This weekend, we were at Rocky Mountain Raceway featuring a driver for an upcoming episode. While waiting for our driver to come out of the gate we witnessed another car catch fire after the fuel cap was missing or faulty. You can see in the EXCLUSIVE video we provided KTVB that the driver fought to get out of the car. The safety crew moved into place, not knowing that he was on fire, they focused on his car. Not realizing he was burning.
Ignacio, the driver’s father ran to his rescue knowing that something wasn’t right. Luckily they were able to get the fire suit off quickly. The news cast is attached.
If you want to see a short clip of the upcoming episode with the driver we are featuring (much happier note) you can watch it here.
CALDWELL — A video surfaced over the weekend showing a local race car driver catching fire on a track in Utah; he quickly jumped out of his car to escape, but it’s what happened afterward that’s catching people’s attention and sparking some outrage.
Racing cars is a risky sport and drivers know accidents happen. But they expect crews on the track to quickly jump into action in an emergency. When Justin Segura and his car caught fire he and his dad had those same expectations, but felt let down and furious.
In the video from Torque Life TV by Ryan Hender Films, you can hear fans in the stands screaming at safety crews, yelling things like, “Get over there!” “Come on, hurry!” “Where’s the safety crew?” and “What about the person on fire?”
Justin Segura traveled from Caldwell to Utah to compete with his wing sprint car at a track there; he was in the middle of his qualifying event when it happened.
“I went out, ran like two laps, and all the sudden I got like a splash. I thought it was hot water at first because it went on my hand. I went into the turn, I looked down and all the sudden I see flames coming up on my suit,” Segura said. “I started panicking because it was my first fire and i thought I was going to get really hurt. I tried to stop as fast as I could, I shut off the fuel like you’re supposed to and shut off the engine. Then after that I tried to get off the steering wheel.”
As Segura ran away from his race car – both he and the car were on fire – invisible flames from burning methanol were coming off his suit and his car.
“I knew I had to get out of there really fast or I’d get hurt,” Segura said. “[I remember] rolling around trying to get the suit off then seeing my dad run towards me ripping my suit off.”
“The excuse of, oh well, we couldn’t see the fire – well you know what, these cars have been around for years. You can’t see methanol burn, you can see hazes. Now come on, people,” Justin’s dad, Ignacio Segura, said. “Fire crews, safety crews, people are there to help us take care of these accidents that happen if we do make mistakes or something happens.”
Ignacio got to Justin on the track before safety crews got to him. The first truck with safety crews pulled up a little after and a man grabbed a water fire extinguisher and sprayed Justin. Ignacio says he had to run from where he was watching his son’s qualifying laps to the gate yards away, then through the gate to get to him – a much further distance than crews were to Justin and his car.
“I’m ripping his suit off, you know, he’s on fire and I just didn’t care, you know. And I turn around and this guy is finally running there,” Ignacio said. “Where is everybody? And that’s what I was screaming: I was yelling, ‘Where is everybody?!’”
You can see in the Torque Life TV video that the second truck got on scene a few seconds later, with one person focusing on the car and the other walking toward Justin.
“You got to figure we’re not going to the car, we’re going to the driver, that truck is going to the car! I don’t have all the answers. All I can say is that I’m an upset father,” Ignacio told KTVB.
“It would have been a lot worse if my dad wasn’t out there. He was the first guy to me. The fire crew who is usually supposed to be out there first but they were so slow,” Justin said. “I’m sure he wouldn’t have gone out to the track if they were there to me first but he was the only one to me.”
“I saved my son 7.85 seconds. How much skin will burn in 7.85 seconds?” Ignacio added. “More seconds, the worse the burn gets.”
The Seguras – and many vocal fans in the stands – felt there was no urgency and the response should have been quicker, and argue crews should have focused on Justin more so than the car.
“I feel like they should have rushed at least a lot more quicker than they were,” Justin told KTVB. “I just hope they learn their lesson on trying to get faster and watching closer.”
“I don’t want people to think fire crews are bad, but we expect more,” Ignacio added. “Whoever is in charge needs to make sure their crew is good and they’re on the ball because this is dangerous stuff.”
Justin suffered second-degree burns on his hand and wrist, elbow, knee and the back of his neck, sending him to the hospital in Salt Lake City.
“It’s very terrifying. I thought he was going to burn to death. It’s just – I didn’t think I was going to get to him. To turn around and think, my God, am I the only one that cared here?” Ignacio said, choking up.
A traumatic experience replayed over and over in their heads, but one they say won’t stop them from getting back out on the track and doing what they love.
“I might be a little nervous getting back in my wing car but I’ll get over it,” Justin told KTVB. “A lot of racers know it’s a risk to race and you will get hurt one day. But that’s a risk you’re always willing to take whe you go out on the track.”
KTVB reached out the race track in Utah where this incident happened but didn’t hear back.
The Meridian Speedway operations manager told KTVB crews in the video were in fact following protocol by spraying down the driver and the car. But he says this was a unique and complicated situation because the driver was also on fire and ran yards away from the car. Crews pulled up next to the car and, typically, that is the only object that catches fire in these incidents.