Donald Lee Pettijohn rescued Margaret A. Don from burning, Long Beach, California, February 18, 1971. When her sedan was involved in an accident, Mrs. Don, 48, remained inside the locked vehicle on which flames had broken out at the rear and were spreading along the sides. Pettijohn, 27, service technician, ran to the driver’s door and, with flames around his feet, attempted to open it. Flames suddenly spread over the driver’s side of the sedan, rising to three feet above the roof. Pettijohn fell to the pavement and his attire was ignited; but he got to his feet and shouted to Mrs. Don to unlock the door, which she did. Despite flames that then extended as much as two feet from the side of the automobile, Pettijohn reached into the sedan and removed Mrs. Don, whose clothing was afire. Both suffered extensive burns; and less than a minute after Mrs. Don had been removed from the automobile, there was an explosion which engulfed the sedan in flames. Mrs. Don and Pettijohn recovered after lengthy hospitalization.
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