HAMPSTEAD, N.H. --
Police in Hampstead said a man died despite attempts by a police officer and good Samaritans to free him Sunday from his truck that crashed into a tree and caught fire.
According to police, Officer Mark Conway was on patrol on Kent Farm Road when he came upon the truck. The fire melted away the side paneling and the impact pushed the engine into the front seat.
"The engine was fully engulfed and the smoke was filling the cab of the truck and the flames were starting to come up underneath the dashboard and the steering column," Conway said.
Richard Blanch, 48, of Sandown, was unconscious and trapped inside. The officer and three passersby worked to free Blanch from the burning vehicle.
"We went around -- the doors wouldn't open -- (and) broke the passenger-side window, (but we) still couldn't get him out -- his feet and legs were jammed up underneath the steering column," Conway said.
One of the good Samaritans, Herb Martin, is a firefighter. Martin was on his way to Christmas shopping. He, too, ignored the flames and ran to help.
"At that point, the adrenaline was just going," Martin said. "We had to get him out of the vehicle because the vehicle was on fire."
The four were able to pull Blanch from the truck before it burst into flames. Martin said he and a bystander used their adrenaline to pull the driver out through the passenger-side window. They got the man away from the flames and started cardiopulmonary resuscitation, but Blanch later died from his injuries.
Conway was treated for smoke inhalation at Parkland Hospital.
Anyone with information about the crash is asked to call Hampstead police.
Officer, Passersby Pull Man From Burning Vehicle
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