"There's a dude on fire, man, I gotta get out and help," he said he thought at the time.
A FedEx driver was killed in a three-truck crash and fireball on I-80 in Joliet on Tuesday morning, and state police are still trying to determine who was at fault.
The collision happened at mile marker 129 about a half hour before sunrise. One FedEx double-trailer had broken down and was on the side of the eastbound lanes. Another FedEx truck had pulled over to help her. Police state that is when a third vehicle, also a tractor-trailer, hit the two FedEx vehicles from behind. There was a spontaneous explosion and fireball.
Loomis was the right person to come to the rescue. He had a fire blanket in his truck, which are often used by welders to put out flames.
"I ran and there was a couple of guys standing there, and I threw the fire blanket at all of them. Tried to throw it on the guy," he said.
Then Loomis remembered he had a fire extinguisher and grabbed that as well.
"The guy was on the blanket and he was just mumbling. I don't think he knew anything, like, what was going on," he said.
The man suffered severe burns and was taken to Loyola University Medical Center. Loomis is still shaken by what he witnessed.
"The police, the firemen, the EMTs. I can't believe they do that by choice. They're, uh, whew, they're some tough people," Loomis said.
Loomis doesn't think he's a hero, saying he just did what anyone would do in that situation. His wife alerted ABC7 Eyewitness News to his bravery.
Loomis said he's hopeful the man he rescued will recover.
Photos by Jessica Golembiewski
FedEx driver Sami S. Guzick, 50, of Joliet was killed according to the Will County coroner.
The truck that crashed into the FedEx vehicles was from West Side Transport, Inc. headquartered in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. West Side also has a truck yard in Glenwood, Illinois-a south suburb of Chicago. Neither the company nor police have said which facility the truck in Tuesday's accident was stationed.
Authorities say the West Side driver suffered severe burns and was initially taken to St. Joseph Hospital but has since been airlifted to Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood.
According to U.S. Department of Transportation records examined by the I-Team, West Side trucks have been involved in 43 crashes the past two years. No fatalities were listed in the data, but 14 of the crashes involved injuries DOT records state. The company's worst recent crash was last February in Ohio when seven people were injured. Despite that, the total number of accidents does not appear to be out of the ordinary for a company such as West Side.
Nine of the 43 crashes occurred in Illinois, including two in Rockford and crashes in Worth, Melrose Park, Naperville and Olympia Fields.
The Shorewood Police Department issued a bulletin alerting motorists to avoid Route 52 (West Jefferson Street) around Shorewood on Tuesday. "Avoid the area if at all possible. We have no update as to when the accidents will be cleared on Interstate 80. Use alternate routes, use patience and good judgment."
FedEx released this statement late Tuesday morning: "First and foremost we extend our deepest thoughts and concerns to the family and friends of those involved in this tragic incident. We are cooperating fully with investigating authorities at this time."