Charles E. Wyant rescued Michael L. Wiant from burning, Rimersburg, Pennsylvania, January 2, 2015. Wiant, 53, was the driver of a tri-axle dump truck that, in a highway accident, left the roadway, struck a guide rail and a utility pole, and then went down an embankment and overturned onto its passenger side in a shallow creek. One of the vehicle’s fuel tanks ruptured in the accident and soaked Wiant’s clothing with diesel fuel, and flames broke out in the engine compartment and grew and spread. Wiant’s safety belt released after he struggled with it, and he then attempted to climb through the opened window of the driver’s door. Wyant, 39, equine dentist, drove upon the scene and responded to the truck. Despite flames nine feet high issuing from its engine area, he climbed eight feet up the exposed underside of the vehicle and then advanced to the driver’s window, where Wiant was supporting his upper body outside the vehicle as his lower body remained suspended inside, amid flames that had entered the cab. Wyant grasped Wiant by an arm and pulled but could not lift him. Pulling again, hard, he lifted Wiant onto the side of the truck, although Wiant outweighed him. Wiant’s coat was aflame, and Wyant pulled it off him to find that flames had spread to Wiant’s shirt. Both men then jumped into the creek, where Wyant splashed Wiant to extinguish the flames. He then helped Wiant away from the truck and, with assistance from two other men, took him up the embankment to safety as flames grew to engulf and destroy the cab. Wiant was hospitalized for treatment of significant burns and other injuries.
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