Wife of Portsmouth crash victim demands answers from city

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Portsmouth firefighters are investigating their own actions following a fiery crash earlier this month that put a man in the hospital with serious burns. The wife of the victim believes the city did not do enough to get her husband out of the burning car fast enough.

Person severely injured in fiery crash in Portsmouth

You can still see the burn marks in the road at the corner of Lincoln and Effingham Street in Portsmouth. It is where a van went up in flames after the Jan. 17 crash. One of the bystanders recorded video of the driver, seen trapped inside and on fire. It shows the man stuck in the burning van for several minutes, even though first responders were there.

“They let him down,” Amber Harris said. “They definitely let him down.”

Home with their four kids, Harris is juggling family life while helping her husband, Calvin. He is in the hospital with burns all over his upper body. She said he can barely move his hands.

“He can’t hold a spoon, he can’t hold a cup, let alone hold his babies,” she said. “Or hold a football. Football is a big part of him.”

Alongside his love for the sport, Amber Harris said he has an even greater love for his family.

“He is more of a household husband than I am as a Molly maid wife, let’s be honest,” Amber Harris said. “He cooks, he cleans, he bathes my babies. He is the rock of our family.”

The good news is Calvin is no longer in the I.C.U. But his road to recovery is expected to be a long one. As his fight carries on in the hospital, Amber Harris fights for answers.

“His family is suffering, him personally is suffering from what I feel is negligence on the city,” Amber Harris said. “They let him down. They definitely let him down.”

“So hopefully, I’m praying that he can still play football eventually, one day,” Amber added. “It just might be a little while.”

10 On Your Side reached out to the Portsmouth Fire Department. Officials said they are now working on an “after action review” of the crash. They will be able answer more questions once that review is done.

The family has a GoFundMe online to help with medical expenses.

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