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      Officer reflects on attempt to save car fire victim

      COLUMBIA, (WACH) -- Officer Timothy Carpenter was on the job driving down SC-277, when he saw smoke.

      "As I approached the actual smoke, I could see it was a vehicle and two other bystanders. They looked like they were trying to open the driver's side door," said Carpenter.

      Carpenter got out and tried to help the two men, who had already busted open one of the windows.

      He then used his extinguisher to fight the fire. When the extinguisher was empty, he then tried to open the door with his baton.

      "By that time, the interior of the car was engulfed in flames. It was disheartening to say the least to know he's two feet in front of you and the only thing separating you and the individual is the door, and you can't get past the door," said Carpenter.

      He then knew there was nothing left to do besides step back, as Columbia Police and Firefighters arrived to the scene.

      Carpenter says the uplifting part of what ended so tragically was to see good people stepping in to help a stranger.

      "There are good samaritans that do try to help; yesterday was a good show of it. There were two individuals, everyday guys, that saw the accident. I mean, granted the one was an EMS worker, but the other guy, I mean, he didn't have to help, but he was there trying to," said Carpenter.