C. Fredric Holbeck helped to save Nathaniel A. Wissink from burning, Omaha, Nebraska, February 26, 2016. Wissink, 28, was unconscious and trapped in the front passenger seat of a car after it was struck on its driver’s side by a pickup truck traveling at high speed through a residential neighborhood. The car, which burst into flame, was demolished, with its back end split almost apart from the front, its fuel tank ruptured, and most windows broken out. Flames issued from the rear of the vehicle, including the backseat area, and were spreading toward the front seats, producing dense smoke. Holbeck, 54, biologist, was at his home nearby and immediately ran to the scene to find the car’s driver emerging through the window of the driver’s door. Holbeck aided him from the vehicle and took him to safety. Learning that Wissink was still in the car, Holbeck returned to its driver’s door, where he bent down the window frame. In repeated attempts, he and two other men from the neighborhood reached through the opening, locating Wissink but finding that he was trapped by wreckage. Reaching deep into the smoke-filled car, they freed Wissink, pulled him head first through the opening, and dragged him to safety, flames shortly engulfing the car’s interior. Wissink required hospitalization for treatment of his injuries. Holbeck sustained smoke inhalation but did not require medical attention, and he recovered.
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