Suspected DUI Driver Crashes Car Into Covina Home, Sparking Fire That Spreads to House

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A suspected DUI driver slammed his car into a home in Covina early Monday, injuring himself and sparking a fire that spread to the house, authorities said.

A car crash into home in Covina on July 31, 2017, sparking a fire and injuring the driver. (Credit: KTLA)

A car crash into home in Covina on July 31, 2017, sparking a fire and injuring the driver. (Credit: KTLA)

Firefighters responded around 3 a.m. to a report of a car into a home in the 1300 block of Puente Street, according to Los Angeles County Fire Department Supervisor Ed Pickett.

The vehicle caught fire after the crash, and the flames spread to the home, Pickett said.

It took 25 to 30 firefighters about 40 minutes to extinguish the blaze.

The driver, who is suspected of being under the influence at the time, has been hospitalized and is expected to be booked at a later time, according to a Covina Police Department official. 

His condition was not immediately known. Police are also investigating whether the unidentified man is connected to other possible crimes, the official said.

Two men were sleeping in the house when the crash took place, but both were unharmed, he said.

In an interview with reporters hours after the crash, one of the residents said the impact of the car into the home felt like an earthquake.

“I thought it was an earthquake this morning …  I stayed in bed for a second, and then I thought I get up at 3 anyway,” Robert Bullinger said. “When I went out to my coffee pot to get my coffee, I realized there was drywall at my feet and a big clout of dust. ... And then I heard the man screaming in the car."

Firefighters extinguished a blaze that was sparked when a car crashed into a home in Covina on July 31, 2017. (Credit: Loudlabs)

Bullinger went to wake up his friend and roommate, Stephen Sweeney, and then the two made their way out of the burning residence.

Sweeney credited a young couple with helping them get out of the home and rescuing the driver, who was trapped in the vehicle.

“The young couple were absolutely heroic," Sweeney said in an interview outside the home. "The young lady was at the front door yelling, helped us find a way out of the house. The young man pulled the driver out of the burning car. And then we both stood across the street and the Fire Department was here.”

Both residents managed to get OK, although Sweeney said he suffered a sprained knee while exiting the home.

The house sustained significant damage from the crash and fire, and has been declared uninhabitable; the Red Cross will be helping out the displaced residents, according to Pickett.

The home had just been remodeled, and Sweeney told reporters he had just finished redoing several rooms in the house himself. "Hours and hours of work that is gone," he said.

This also wasn't the first time a car crashed into a structure on the street, according to Sweeney, who noted similar incidents have happened there in the past.

“I don’t know what they could possibly do to protect against this,” he said.

The cause of the crash is under investigation, and no additional details were immediately available.

KTLA's Jennifer Gould and Alexandria Hernandez contributed to this story.