Christopher A. Pratt rescued Jace A. Westbrook from burning, Centralia, Illinois, December 21, 2011. Jace, 4, remained in a car seat that was secured to the rear seat of a sport utility vehicle after a highway accident before dawn: The vehicle left the roadway, overturned onto its driver’s side, and caught fire at its front end. Pratt, 30, metal fabrication supervisor, drove upon the scene and stopped. He ran to the vehicle and, hearing Jace crying, broke out the window of its hatch door. Although flames were entering the front of the vehicle, Pratt crawled inside and made his way toward Jace, finding him strapped to his seat. Pratt used his knife to cut Jace free of the seat and then, holding Jace to his chest, backed out of the vehicle to safety. Flames spread to engulf the vehicle shortly. Jace and Pratt both required hospital treatment for burns, Pratt sustaining first- and second-degree burns to his hands and forehead.
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