Chad W. Chichester

A 52-year-old engineer of Midland, Michigan, responded to a burning all-terrain vehicle on April 3, 2022, in Sherman Township, Michigan. Passenger Karleigh M. Zmikly, 23, remained inside the ATV as flames entered the passenger compartment and lit her clothing on fire. Chad W. Chichester was in Zmikly’s party in another ATV, when he witnessed the accident that resulted in the ATV overturning onto the driver’s side. Initially, flames and smoke precluded him from seeing Zmikly, but as he circled the ATV he saw her standing on the driver’s door reaching up toward the passenger’s window opening. At 5’1”, she could not reach the passenger’s door of the 6-foot-wide vehicle. Chichester reached through flames, grasped her under her arms and attempted to lift her out of the vehicle, but the synthetic material of his gloves was melting in the blistering heat causing his hands to slip. He stepped back from the vehicle, shook the gloves off his hands, and returned. While flames burned his hands and wrists, he reached into the vehicle again, grasped her in the same manner and pulled her from the ATV. Laying her on the ground, others at the scene instructed her to roll on the ground to extinguish the flames on her clothing. Others packed snow from the ground to put out the fire and moved her farther from the burning vehicle. Zmikly was flown by medical helicopter to a hospital for treatment of severe burns, requiring multiple surgeries. Chichester was taken by ambulance to the hospital for treatment of severe burns to his hands, which also required surgery.