Christopher Heleine saved Mark D. McKinley from burning, Terre Haute, Indiana, November 14, 2012. McKinley, 30, was the driver of a car that struck other vehicles in a parking lot of a university. The car caught fire at its front end as its engine continued to run, and McKinley lay unconscious in the smoke-filled vehicle, slumped over the console. Heleine, 28, university police officer, responded to the scene. When he opened the rear door on the passenger side of the car, its driver’s side blocked by another vehicle, smoke poured out, and he saw McKinley inside, unresponsive. Heleine used a fire extinguisher against flames that had advanced to the front passenger door and then opened it, releasing more smoke. He then entered the car through the front door, released McKinley’s safety belt, and, backing, exited the car as he started to pull McKinley out. Another officer who had arrived assisted in fully removing McKinley. They dragged him to safety, flames quickly spreading to the interior of the car and to the other vehicles nearby. McKinley was hospitalized for treatment of his injuries, and Heleine inhaled smoke but fully recovered the next day.
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