Witnesses try to save woman in Farmers Branch crash, but can't

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A single vehicle crash in Farmers Branch Sunday morning left one woman dead after the car burst into flames.

It happened on southbound I-35E near the Valwood Parkway exit.

Witnesses tried to pull the woman from the burning car, but couldn’t. All southbound lanes of I-35E were closed, but reopened.

A witness says he was fixing an air conditioning system at a nearby business around 9:30am when he heard a loud crash.

He says he looked over and saw a car imbedded in the guardrail and it was starting to smoke.

"It was quickly upgraded to a rescue when the fire was reported,” said Battalion Chief Jerry Cromer of Farmers Branch Fire Rescue.

Firefighters rushed to the scene, but it was too late.  

“Really, we would have had to have been here when the wreck happened because the fire started so quickly after the wreck,” said Cromer.

According to witnesses, the Dodge Dart was headed southbound on I-35E when it veered to the right toward the shoulder and briefly went airborne.

The car ended up wedged between a sign and a guardrail. A witness who took cell phone video, couldn’t speak on camera, but described what he saw by phone.

“It was smoking real bad and there was two people trying to open the door so I got out and tried to go over to help, but by the time I got to the middle of the road, there was two other people trying to break the window,” said witness Billy Meeks.

“Once they broke the window and opened the door, got the door open from the inside, they were trying to pull the person out, but they had a seatbelt on and they couldn’t get out. By then the flames started coming through the passenger door,” said Meeks.

Battalion Chief Cromer says there are many reasons why the car could have caught fire.

“You’ve got the fluids and the fuel with a wreck of this magnitude. Those things were probably leaking from the vehicle. It spread really quickly,” said Cromer.

At one point in the video, you see one of the good Samaritans try to approach the car again, but he’s pulled back by another man.

Meeks says it all happened so fast.

“It’s a sad situation that someone had to lose their life in an accident,” said Meeks.

With the help of the Carrollton Police Department, Farmers Branch investigators are trying to reconstruct the scene to try and figure out what caused the driver to lose control of the car.

The woman's identity has not been released.