Car crash along 118 Freeway in Simi Valley sparks brush fire

A car crash along the 118 Freeway in Simi Valley sparked a brush fire Saturday night on a hillside near the Los Angeles County line, authorities said.

The vehicle appears to have veered off the freeway and plummeted about 200 feet in rocky, steep terrain, said Capt. Stain Ziegler of the Ventura County Fire Department.

Firefighters responded to reports of a brush fire around 8:50 p.m., Ziegler said. They arrived to find one person trapped inside the car near the bottom of the hill near the Rocky Peak Road exit.

Rescuers managed to free the driver, who was taken to a hospital, officials said. No other details were immediately available about the driver or the individual’s condition.

About 50 firefighters from the Los Angeles Fire Department and the Ventura County Fire Department were battling the flames late Saturday night, including half a dozen fire engines, a hand crew and two helicopters that were preparing to make water drops on the hill.

As of 10:30 p.m. Saturday, Ziegler said, the fire had consumed about a quarter of an acre and was showing a “slow rate of spread.” Slight winds of about 10 miles per hour didn’t appear to be hampering firefighters’ efforts, he added.

Shaunt Berberian, 35, said he was driving westbound on the 118 to his home in Simi Valley when he saw an orange glow out of the corner of his eye. Video he posted showed flames shooting up from the hillside.

“It seemed like it had just started and that fire and police had just gotten there,” Berberian said in a phone interview. “The flames were at least ten feet and it just smelled like a big old campfire. Even with the windows rolled up, you could feel the heat.”

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