Without powerful fire extinguishers, police would not have known man was inside burning truck

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PRAIRIE VILLAGE, Kan. -- The fire that erupted after a driver crashed his pick-up truck at 79th and Belinder in Prairie Village Monday morning was so bad, police officers couldn't initially see that anyone was still inside.

A neighbor grabbed a fire extinguisher and tried to help before police arrived, but the home fire extinguisher was too weak.

Prairie Village officers came armed with coldfire canisters, a more powerful fire extinguisher made for these kinds of fires. It's the same kind of extinguisher that is used in NASCAR races to put out fires.

Once they knocked down the flames they realized there was a person, or a body inside.

"We've got movement," they can be heard saying on the dashcam video.

One minute and 24 seconds after police arrive on the scene, the sound of fire sirens can be heard in the distance.

If the officers hadn't had the coldfire canisters, they would have had to wait for the fire department to arrive to douse the fire, and the driver would have been in the flames for even longer.

"When you get there, you want to provide assistance, you want to render aid and you kind of feel helpless if you get there and you don`t have the right tools to help out a citizen," aid Sgt. Ivan Washington, Prairie Village Police.

Prairie Village Police bought coldfire canisters for every city police car after the City of Lenexa did research about the best tool to use in this sort of situation.

"Lenexa actually had a similar incident where a vehicle caught on fire and they had traditional extinguishers and they weren`t able to put the fires out and it ended a little differently for that driver," Sgt. Washington said.

Police have not released the name of the victim but say after the accident he was in critical condition. They say he is in the burn unit at the University of Kansas Hospital.

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