Albert Allen Ward III helped to rescue Robert Allen, Jr., from burning, Kenner, Louisiana, December 31, 1998. Allen, 33, was the driver of a car that was hit from behind by a truck while traveling on an interstate highway bridge that spanned a spillway off Lake Pontchartrain. Flames immediately erupted on the rear of the car, which came to rest with its passenger side against the bridge’s concrete rail. Ward, 26, college student, and a friend were approaching the scene when they saw the car fire. After they stopped and learned that the car was occupied, Ward attempted to gain access through the window of its driver’s door, but he was not successful. Another man who had stopped used fire extinguishers against the flames, also to no effect. To gain access to the passenger side of the car, Ward, his friend, and other men picked up the front of the vehicle and, despite advancing flames, moved it away from the bridge rail. Entering the narrow space between the rail and the burning car, Ward attempted to open the passenger door, but the handle burned his hand. After one of the other men then kicked out the window to that door, Ward extended his head and shoulders into the car and, requiring repeated attempts, grasped Allen by the hand and started to pull him from the vehicle. The man who had kicked out the window grasped Allen and helped to pull, as did Ward’s friend. The three men pulled Allen, who was aflame, from the car and carried him away, then extinguished the flames on him. The car was shortly engulfed by flames, and three other persons in the car died at the scene. Allen was taken to the hospital for treatment of extensive burns. Ward sustained minor burns to his hand and forearm and was sickened from inhaling smoke. He recovered.
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