Anne Heche had been trapped in her car inside a burning house for 45 minutes after the crash from which she eventually died.
after a car she was in crashed into a house in Los Angeles, causing a fire.
The actress lost consciousness shortly after the crash and never regained it, dying from injuries caused by smoke inhalation and burns,
New reports have revealed that it took firefighters 45 minutes to remove the actress from the burning building, being unable to reach the car for 20 minutes, and a further 20 being needed to remove the vehicle from the property.
According to , who were shown Los Angeles Fire Department records under the California Public Records Act, the blaze was so intense that responders struggled to see or approach the car.
They arrived at 11.01am and appeared to confirm someone was in the vehicle 21 minutes later, finding Anne a further three minutes later with one of the responders saying: ‘We have identified one patient, inaccessible at this time, he’s pushed up against the floorboard.’
Deputy Fire Chief Richard Fields told NBC: ‘Given the heavy fire and smoke conditions, it wasn’t that you could clearly see into the vehicle or clearly be able to access it.
‘Heavy smoke conditions, heavy fire conditions, which makes it very difficult for us to just see each other on the inside of a working structure fire.’
After Heche was found, firefighters used a heavy-duty tow truck to pull the car out of the house with the Donnie Brasco star still inside it before they were able to free her.
The fire department added that even if Heche had been spotted inside the car immediately, it is unlikely firefighters could have responded differently as it took 30 minutes to fight the fire to a point where the rescue could be made.
Heche had been declared clinically dead but her heart was kept beating until suitable recipients could be found for her organs, which were donated.