Off-duty police officer saves a man from burning trailer while others just drive by – said he’s ‘wired to help’

KNOXVILLE, TN – When the flames erupted, many people stood by and watched. But one off-duty cop, who was out running errands, sprang into action.

According to a Knoxville news station, University of Tennessee Police Corporal Kyle Botica was on Interstate 40 in Knox County when he saw a truck with a fifth-wheel camper under an overpass. A brake fire had spread and engulfed the camper.

Botica said:

“I didn’t notice any emergency vehicles going by me and I didn’t see any behind me and I didn’t see any there. So, at that point I thought ‘I gotta stop cause this is new. There’s nobody here, nobody’s responded yet.”


He said that it was simply his training kicking in.

“You kind of get wired to see a problem and try to help when you do, at least for me personally. I’d also rather do something than go by and regret not doing something.”

Botica and another motorist worked together and were able to disconnect the goose-neck, allowing the owner to pull his vehicle away from the fire. As they were moving people away from the area, the man who assisted Botica collapsed.

He and another bystander were able to move him to a safer location. When Botica went to evaluate the unresponsive man, he had no pulse.


He immediately began CPR. An off-duty nurse at the scene monitored breathing and pulse while the Corporal handled the chest compressions. Once arriving on the scene, the Knoxville Fire and an ambulance crew took over, transporting the man to a local hospital.

“Myself and some of the other people who were there, picked him up and moved him further away from the fire. I think he was probably only like 30 feet from the trailer when he fell.

“I couldn’t get a pulse off of him and I couldn’t see him breathing. A nurse who was there, I don’t know who she is, I don’t know her name or anything, um, she was at his head and counted for me. She had a little portable mask with her and actually gave breaths.”