A Wisconsin demolition derby driver was hospitalized with severe burns after his car caught fire in the pit of the Ozaukee County Fair Demo Derby, according to officials.

The incident happened Friday night in the city of Cedarburg.

The 22-year-old man was among the participants in the Demo Derby, Cedarburg Police said, according to WISN. The fuel tank on the vehicle was damaged during the event and, while no longer participating, he pulled his car into the pit. And after multiple attempts by the man and his friends to start the car, it caught on fire and burned him.

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“We are trying to figure out why it won’t start, and that’s when everything just exploded,” the victim’s friend Collin Wilcox told Fox 6.

Police said the man was helped out of the car by other participants before fire officials put out the fire.

The man was transported to a hospital for first-to-third-degree burns all over his body, Fox 6 reported.

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“He got lucky,” Cedarburg Police Sgt. Eric Weisenberger said, according to Fox 6. “Fire can get out of control really fast, and just the quick reaction of his friends and all the organizations helping in the event, I think, truly saved his life.” 

Police said they had extra fire and EMS crews on standby for Saturday night’s derby.

“He’s in the best spirits he can be, for what happened,” Wilcox said. “We had him laughing, so that’s all matters.”

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