Alida E. Pettit, 15, schoolgirl, rescued Herman C. Simmons, 36, truck driver, from burning, Stratford, Connecticut, December 27, 1958. When a garbage truck driven by Simmons went out of control, the vehicle veered across the highway, overturned on its side, and burst into flames which completely filled the cab. Simmons, his clothing in flames, tried to climb through the open door window of the truck but fell back into the flames and screamed for help. Miss Pettit ran to the truck. Flames from inside the cab rose two feet above the window while other flames a foot high burned outside of the door. Heat was intense. At the urging of Miss Pettit, Simmons succeeded in climbing part way through the window opening but then slumped forward with his arms thrust outward across the hood of the truck. Extending her hands close to the flames, Miss Pettit grasped Simmons by both arms and pulled him from the cab. Simmons, whose clothing nearly was burned away, then began to run wildly in a small circle. Miss Pettit pursued him, attempting to put out the flames on his body by striking him with her coat. Shortly afterward Simmons stopped running and lay on the road. Police and firemen then arrived. The flames on Simmons were smothered with a blanket, and firemen extinguished the flames in the truck. Simmons suffered severe burns on 65 percent of his body and succumbed four days later
44591 – 423844591-4238
Alida E. Worobel, 65, of the Sandy Hook community in Newtown, Conn., died on Oct. 2, 2008. She was born in Bridgeport, Conn., on Sept. 23, 1943, daughter of Wilbur and Esther Fogg Pettit. She was raised in Shelton, Conn., before living most of her life in Sandy Hook.
In 1958, at the age of 15, she risked her own life to pull a man out of his flaming truck cab and extinguished his burning clothes with her coat. For that heroism, she received the Carnegie Medal in May 1959.
She worked for many years as a hostess alongside her family at Lauretti’s Restaurant in Shelton until her retirement. She was very artistic, enjoyed crocheting, and loved, above all, spending time with her grandchildren.
(Edited from an obituary in The Newtown Bee, Oct. 10, 2008.)