A D.C. police officer pulled a man from a flaming pickup truck along Interstate 270 late Wednesday.
Officer Reinaldo Otero said he was driving home after his shift after 11 p.m. when he noticed the vehicle on the shoulder of the road in Montgomery County, Maryland.
He saw smoke coming from the vehicle and noticed the air bags were deployed, so he radioed the crash in to Montgomery County police.
As he approached the pickup, Otero said he saw fire under it.
He went back to his car to get crowbar to smash a passenger side window. Inside, he saw smoke and flames.
Then he approached the driver side.
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“That’s when I actually heard someone screaming, ‘Help me! Help me! Help me!’” he said.
“He pulled him out of the car,” said Pete Piringer of Montgomery County Fire and Rescue.
Otero radioed in again to describe the man’s injuries, then returned to the man to render first aid.
First responders were on the scene within seconds of the second call, Otero said. The cab of the truck was fully engulfed in flames by the time they arrived.
“We’re contending that his actions were very decisive and potentially lifesaving,” Piringer said.
Otero has assisted others on the roadside in the past.
“When you’ve been trained in a way, when the situation happens, really the training kicks in, so there’s not much of fear of what may happen to you but more like get the job done the way you were trained to do,” he said.
The driver is hospitalized in serious condition.