Anne Heche was literally on fire after crashing her blue Mini Cooper into a home in Los Angeles, a witness told the Post.
“I was convinced she was burned and gone,” David Manpearl, who lives nearby and was the first person on the scene, told The Post on Saturday. “I couldn’t imagine anyone surviving that.”
Miraculously, Heche, 53, survived the accident on Friday morning, as did the occupant of the house she destroyed, who had left the living room with her pets and moved into a side room a few moments before Heche rams his car into the house.
After trying to reach him inside the flaming wreckage, Manpearl said he watched helplessly as the trapped Heche appeared to be burning alive before firefighters arrived.
Manpearl, 58, a software engineer, was at his home in the Mar Vista district, just north of Venice, when he was shocked to see a car speeding down what he said was a very busy street. narrow.
Home security footage obtained by a local CBS station showed a blue car driving recklessly through a suburban-style community prior to the crash.
The nightmarish incident began to unfold minutes earlier, as Heche walked through a Mar Vista apartment complex and slammed into a garage door. Passers-by tried to drag the ‘Donnie Brasco’ actress out of the vehicle, but she backed off, drove off and drove down Preston Way where she then veered into a small house, authorities said.
“My first thought was that it was a malfunction with the car or there was some sort of medical issue,” Manpearl said of the car’s speed. “The car was going three times faster than it should have been. She blew through three intersections. There were no turns, yaws, brakes, or skid marks.
Manpearl heard the impact seconds after the car sped by and drove to the nearby scene, where he said Heche’s car slammed into the front of the house and landed about 50ft away towards the back of the house.
The 52-year-old resident, who Manpearl said was renting the house, wandered into the wreckage and asked him for help getting her two dogs and turtle out of the house, he said. The resident could not be reached immediately.
There was so much wreckage Manpearl couldn’t tell if the driver was male or female, he said.
He managed to open the back doors of the car and crawl inside, asking Heche if she was okay and if she could raise her hand. She said no either way, he recalls.
Minutes after attempting to reach Heche, Manpearl saw a “curtain of fire” rising from the bottom of the vehicle which eventually engulfed the car with Heche sitting upright in the driver’s seat, unable to get out.
“The fire got bigger and bigger as she sat there, stuck in the car,” Manpearl said. “The flames licked the ceiling of the car and closed in on her. I thought she was lost.
Manpearl and two neighbors tried to use garden hoses and a fire extinguisher to put out the fire, to no avail.
“I had to step back because I was starting to not be able to breathe from the smoke,” he said.
Manpearl said he was as worried for the resident as he was for Heche, as the resident lost almost everything in the flaming wreckage.
“The firefighters got him some stuff, medicine and files,” he said. “Everything was damaged by the smoke. Every inch of this house has been ruined. His life was turned upside down. She was just a tenant with limited rental insurance.
The resident stayed at Manpearl’s with her pets yesterday until friends picked her up, he said.
The actress – who was intubated with severe burns at a nearby hospital – had to “get away with it”, her ex-boyfriend, Thomas Jane, said in a statement.