Pickup bursts into flames: Off-duty DC officer saves driver

fiery truck
An off-duty D.C. police officer pulled a man from a burning truck on Interstate 270. (Courtesy Montgomery County Fire & Rescue/Pete Piringer)

An off-duty D.C. police officer pulled an injured man from a fiery crash on the Interstate 270 Spur in Bethesda, Maryland, late night Wednesday.

The D.C. police officer, on his way home from work, spotted a damaged pickup truck on the shoulder of the I-270 Spur north of Democracy Boulevard shortly before 11:30 p.m. Wednesday, according to Montgomery County Fire & Rescue spokesman Pete Piringer.

As the officer approached the vehicle, it “burst into flames,” said Piringer.

Here's part of what came over the police scanner as the off-duty D.C. police officer called in the I-270 crash.

The officer pulled the man from the burning vehicle and began performing first aid until Montgomery County paramedics arrived, said Piringer.

The man, who Piringer said is “lucky to be alive,” was taken to an area hospital with life-threatening injuries.

All northbound traffic on the I-270 Spur was stopped for about 30 minutes while the truck fire, which had spread to nearby vegetation, was put out and a downed pole was moved off the road.

The right side of the spur remained closed while Montgomery County police investigated.

Police have not yet identified the cause of the crash.

WTOP has reached out to D.C. police for the identity of the off-duty officer who came to the victim’s rescue. 

Dave Dildine

A native to the Washington area, Dave Dildine is no stranger to the region's complex traffic and weather patterns. Dave joined WTOP in 2010 when the station launched its very own in-house traffic service. You can hear him "on the 8s and when it breaks" from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays.

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