(CNN) — Duty called a volunteer firefighter in New Hampshire on Christmas Eve to the site of a fatal car crash, where fate dealt him a heartbreaking blow.
The mangled body of a dying woman he removed from the crushed SUV in the town of Brookline was his own daughter, CNN affiliate WMUR reported, citing police.
The firefighter didn’t recognize her at the time, police chief Bill Quigley told local newspaper The Union Leader.
“Her father was the one who pulled her out of the car without knowing it was her.”
Katie Hamilton died at the age of 30, after another vehicle struck hers from behind, pushing it into the opposing lane of traffic, where a third car hit her head on, Quigley told WMUR.
The drivers of the other vehicles were not hurt. Police think the driver of the car that rear-ended Hamilton may have been distracted, the chief said.
“We are pretty certain that speed and impairment were not a factor so that would rule it down to driver distraction at this point,” said Quigley.
Police are still investigating the cause, and no one has been charged, WMUR reported.
Hamilton leaves behind not only her father.
“I know that she is a young mother,” Quigley said. “It’s a sad, sad day for all of us, not just because it’s Christmas Eve.” In Brookline, most everyone knows the father and the tragedy he has suffered.
The town of 4,000 holds Hamilton, and her father, who Quigley declined to identify, in high regard.
CNN’s Darrell Calhoun contributed to this report
™ & © 2013 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.