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Off duty officer helps with semi-truck crash

(Source KOCO) (Source KOCO)

LAWTON, OK (KSWO)-An off duty Lawton Police officer said his instincts kicked in while trying to save a man trapped inside a truck that caught on fire.
The crash happened nearly two weeks ago but on Tuesday he shared his story with 7NEWS.

Officer Timothy Poff said he sprung into action trying to save the life of 27-year old Freedom Kinnaman of Norman, but unfortunately it was too late.
Poff doesn't call himself a hero, and said he wishes he could have done more to save him.

September 14, is a day he will never forget.

"Well we were driving up I-44 H.E. Bailey Turnpike about to get to Norman Spur and I saw what looked like an explosion followed by some smoke and fire south of the bridges on the other side of the highway so I started slowing down thinking it was a car fire or something and see if I could help," said Poff.

He got out and ran towards the chaos seeing a semi tractor trailer that fell off a bridge catching on fire.

"That's the most scared I've been in my whole life.  It was very scary, it was very scary. I wasn't sure what type of truck it was, what type of stuff was on the truck, it was already in a lot of flames the tractor and the trailer both," said Poff.

He ran up under the overpass to see if there was anyone in the truck but most of it was engulfed in flames.

"So I was yelling for them for whoever and after about twenty or thirty seconds someone started yelling back for help and I realized that they were thrown down in the cab which was laying down on its passenger side. The gentleman was able to get up in the truck and start to try and climb out within seconds the flames engulfed the entire truck  there was so much flames to whatever happened to the damage of the truck and he was literally catching on fire and screaming for me to help him but it was too hot for me to get  to him," said Poff.

He ran back down the highway and saw a big rig stopping and got a fire extinguisher

"So I ran back up their to try and render aid and the truck was very much engulfed and there more explosion taking place  and the victim had made his way down to the edge of the roadway so I went running up there and put him out him out where he was still a little bit on fire with the fire extinguisher. There were more explosions I couldn't get a hold of him there to try to drag him off and the flames were getting increasingly larger and larger," said Poff.

He spotted another truck carrying a jug of water and started pouring it over the man's body to cool him off. He performed CPR on the man, but when medical crews arrived it was too late. Poff said the past two weeks have been extremely tough on him and his 11-year-old daughter.

"I can't honestly stop playing that scenario its like a movie screen it just keeps playing and playing and other people keep telling me that was heroic but I don't feel that was right now I feel if i could have done just  a little bit more or if I had done something differently or quicker," said Poff.

Poff suffered smoke inhalation and was taken to a hospital for treatment. Last Thursday, he attended Kinnaman's funeral were he learned he leaves behind a wife and kids. He said you never know when you may need to help someone that's in accident and encourages people to learn CPR.

Copyright 2017 KSWO. All rights reserved. 

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