Brandon J. Trapp helped to save Megan N. Ellison from burning, Marion, Iowa, October 27, 2001. Megan, 11, and her brother were passengers in the back seat of a sport utility vehicle driven by their mother. After a highway accident, which was fatal for the occupants of the other vehicle involved, the sport utility vehicle came to rest upside down in a grassy ditch along the highway and caught fire in its engine area. Trapp, 20, mechanical insulator, and a friend were approaching on the same highway and witnessed the accident. They stopped at the scene and ran to the passenger side of the burning vehicle, which Trapp’s friend entered through the broken-out window of the rear door to rescue Megan’s brother. Trapp entered the vehicle through another broken-out side window and, joined by his friend, attempted to remove Megan’s safety belt. Unsuccessful, Trapp withdrew and obtained a small pocketknife from a bystander. He re-entered the burning vehicle with the knife, which his friend used to cut Megan’s safety belt. Trapp then removed her from the vehicle. With flames starting through the firewall at the front of the vehicle, Megan’s mother freed herself, and Trapp’s friend assisted her through a window to safety. Flames shortly engulfed the vehicle, which was destroyed in the accident. Megan and her brother and mother all required hospital treatment for broken bones and other injuries, but they were not burned.
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