Allyson Powell helped to save Michael A. Canty from burning, Swansea, Massachusetts, July 21, 2010. Canty, 23, was unconscious in the driver’s seat of his sport utility vehicle after it left the highway at night, struck a tree, and caught fire at its front end. Alerted to the accident, Powell, 31, state trooper, responded to the scene. Learning that the vehicle was occupied, she tried to open the doors but was unsuccessful. She broke out the window of the rear passenger-side door, partially entered the smoke-filled vehicle, and attempted to cut Canty’s safety belt, again without success. After withdrawing for air, she gained entry through the front passenger-side door. Despite flames that were beginning to enter the vehicle beneath the dashboard, she climbed fully inside, lifted Canty enough to access the latch to his safety belt, and released the belt. When she then pulled on Canty, she found that he was trapped by wreckage. She asked for help from two men who had also responded to the scene: One of the men leaned through the broken-out window, and the other leaned through the opened front door. The three rescuers grasped Canty and pulled on him repeatedly, until he was free. They dragged him from the vehicle and took him to safety as flames grew to fill and engulf the car, destroying it. Canty was hospitalized for treatment of his injuries, and Powell also required hospital treatment, for smoke inhalation. She recovered.
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