Anthony J. Vaca saved Calvin W. Ricks, Brian L. Stanford, and Bradley S. Rohlfs from burning, Antioch, California, March 23, 1989. Ricks, 17, was dazed, and Stanford and Rohlfs, both 33, were unconscious inside their vehicles, which caught fire immediately after a head-on collision. Vaca, 23, upholstery and carpet cleaner, witnessed the accident and, despite spreading flames, approached the wreckage. After attempting without success to open the driver’s door of Ricks’s car, Vaca reached through the open driver’s window, released Ricks’s seat belt, and pulled him through the window. Vaca then returned to the wreckage and opened the passenger door of Rohlfs’s pickup. He reached inside, grasped Stanford, pulled him out, and dragged him away. Vaca returned to the burning vehicles for Rohlfs and again leaned into the pickup. He seized Rohlfs and pulled him through the passenger door. Within moments the vehicles were engulfed in flame. Ricks and Rohlfs required hospitalization for their injuries, from which they recovered, but Stanford’s injuries were fatal.
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