Firefighter: "I Couldn't Save My Boy"

By Tony Shin
|  Wednesday, May 19, 2010  |  Updated 7:06 AM PDT
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HS Senior Killed in Car Crash

NBCSanDiego

Around 6 p.m. Monday, Hoffman lost control of his white Pontiac Firebird and crashed into a power pole at the intersection of Broadway and North Ave.

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HS Senior Killed in Car Crash

Michael Hoffman, 18, died Monday night of injuries from a traffic accident two miles north of the school. Source: Teen Killed Days Before Graduation | NBC San Diego
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A North County firefighter, called to the scene of a car accident involving his own child did everything he could but couldn't save his only son.

"I've saved a lot of people, but I couldn't save my own boy," Bill Hoffman said Tuesday remembering the moment he rushed to the scene of the crash that killed his son, Michael.

"He was a really, really good kid, and I was very, very proud of him,"said Hoffman.

Michael, 18,  was about to graduate from Escondido High School.  He was also about to follow in his father's footsteps by becoming a firefighter.

"He would be a third generation firefighter,"Hoffman told NBCSanDiego.  "My Dad was a lieutenant with the Buffalo Fire Department and he was killed in the line of duty when I was 14."

Michael never got a chance to live out his dream of battling flames and saving lives.  Escondido Police investigators say Monday evening, he was speeding down North Broadway on his way home when he lost control of his Pontiac Firebird and slammed into a telephone pole.

It happened just a few blocks from the Hoffman's family home.

"My next door neighbor called me and said you need to get down here, Michael's been in a real severe crash,"said Bill Hoffman. 

Within a minute Hoffman, a retired Oceanside firefighter, was at the scene helping pull his son from the wreckage. 

"I just kept pulling debris out and busted metal parts out and I said I think we can get him out here,"Hoffman said.  "He was unresponsive at the time, and we knew he didn't have a pulse and we basically started CPR.

Despite Hoffman's heroic effort, Michael didn't survive.  He was pronounced dead at Palomar Medical Center a short time later.

"I did this for 30 years," Hoffman said.  "I did everything I could do for him and I got to rest assured I know that, and hopefully he knows that, there was nothing more I could have done."

Michael had already taken a first responder course to be a firefighter.  He was planning on attending Palomar College and then the fire academy.

He leaves behind his mother and father, and two younger sisters.

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