Two men were rescued from a burning van by an off-duty Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy after the vehicle crashed into his neighbor's house early Wednesday morning.
The driver, Christopher Eun Cho, 24, of Chino was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving after his van slammed into a house in the 2800 block of Rio Lempa Drive in Hacienda Heights, striking a gas meter that ignited both the vehicle and the building, police said. He is in stable condition at Brotman Medical Center in Culver City, where he is being treated for second- and third-degree burns covering 15% of his hands and feet, a hospital spokeswoman said. His passenger, Sam Sang Woo Kim, 24, of Diamond Bar suffered a bloody nose, police said.
Sheriff's Deputy Carlos Bowers, who was awakened by the accident about 3 a.m., pulled the two men from the van and then attempted to enter the burning house, which he apparently did not know was unoccupied, California Highway Patrol spokesman Lyle Whittensaid. He said Bowers, who was blown 30 feet into the front yard by an explosion in the house, was then told by neighbors that the residents of the house were on vacation.
Bowers, who was not severely injured in the blast, was treated for smoke inhalation and released from Queen of the Valley Hospital in West Covina, Whitten said.