Fire in the cabin is a racing driver's nightmare. When that fire involves racing fuel, the danger increases exponentially. Dirt racer Caeden Steele faced that nightmare in a dramatic moment earlier this week, exiting a burning cabin to find himself on fire and safety crews not yet on the scene.
Terrifying fire here, and a hat tip to DJ Netto for coming to assist pic.twitter.com/zV2yulCU8i
— Work Area (@The_Work_Area) September 16, 2022
Steele's 360 sprint car ignited suddenly during hot laps ahead of Thursday's Kings of Thunder race at Keller Auto Speedway. He came to a quick stop, but the fire had already spread to the cabin by the time cameras pick up the incident. Steele escapes the car quickly, but he lands on the track nearby to find both of his legs on fire. With the safety crew not yet on the scene, fellow driver DJ Netto gets out of his car to help and is able to get the fire out on one of Steele's two legs. When crews with fire extinguishers eventually do arrive, they get out the second.
Steele was later diagnosed with second-degree burns, but his family stated that he was released from the hospital just a day later and will be able to treat his wounds at home. Despite being visibly on fire for more than 20 seconds, Steele's firesuit apparently protected him from any burns at all above the thighs.
For his part in immediately rushing to help, DJ Netto was honored at a World of Outlaws race at Keller the next day. Netto's work to help get some of the fire out before safety crews could arrive was invaluable, but his response time also meant that he could have helped Steele with extraction from the burning cabin if he were unable to get out himself. In situations like that, quick, direct responses from drivers in their own fireproof equipment can save lives.
The crash stresses the importance of both fire protection and quick safety crew response. Even in this worst case scenario, fireproof equipment meant that Steele was able to survive long enough for safety crews to arrive, put the fire out, and send him to professionals for further treatment.
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