It was Christmas Eve. and just after appetizers my pager went off reporting a truck "fully involved in fire." We raced down to the scene expecting exactly what was reported, but instead we saw no flames, just a truck and a ton of smoke. The Chief met me in front and told me the police had already put the fire out with their extinguishers, as it had been rolling out of both wheel-wells when they arrived. I had my guys stretch a length of hose and charge it to put out whatever fire was left.
There was still heavy smoke coming out of the front hood and under the rear of the SUV. A few of my guys grabbed some tools and I heard yelling "take the f*ing windows." I yelled back NOT to take any windows yet, before I walked around trying the doors. For some reason I had a weird feeling there might be someone still in the back seat or something. Finally, I tried the driver-side door front door, which happened to be unlocked. To my amazement, a big burly guy was sitting in the midst of the blinding smoke IN the truck. I jumped back and said "What the f*ck???"
Just then the Chief walked around and shared my amazement as we pulled him out, saying "This guy was IN the truck the entire time?!?!" He was still conscious (no idea how) and immediately brought to the hospital for smoke inhalation. Must have been drunk enough that the noise outside didn't wake him from his nap.
As for the fire, it was very stubborn, hiding under the truck and we had to put the curved extension onto the nozzle to access it. The arson squad and a detective came down and spoke to me about what we found before we left the scene.
I pulled the newer members aside later and reviewed what just happened. I mainly highlighted the point that on a fire scene, people should NEVER assume that something is done. What I mean is firefighters should NEVER assume a room has been checked for victims unless they're 100% positive it has been. Similarly, FF's should NEVER assume an area of a structure fire (or in this case, an auto-fire) is clear of all life while a fire is going on. One would think that fire would drive a person out of their home or car... but this proves those kinds of assumptions could very well be the ones that kill civilians or other firefighters.