Eduardo Izquierdo rescued Andrew Mekeel from burning, Mohegan Lake, New York, November 18, 1999. Mekeel, 22, remained in the front-seat area of the car in which he was the passenger after an accident at night in which the car struck a utility pole and caught fire. Power lines from the pole, including a high-voltage one, were downed in the vicinity of the car. Asleep in his nearby home, Izquierdo, 55, construction worker, was awakened by the accident, and he saw the burning car from his bedroom window. He immediately ran to the scene, where he attempted to open the car’s front passenger door, but it was jammed shut. Gaining access to the car through that door’s window, Izquierdo extended his arms and head inside, despite intensifying flames and smoke and arcing of overhead electrical lines. He pulled Mekeel’s head from the dashboard and through the window, then reached to Mekeel’s back, grasped him by the belt, and pulled him the rest of the way out. Izquierdo lowered Mekeel to the ground and dragged him away from the car moments before the fire increased suddenly and engulfed the car, the driver of which was killed. Mekeel was hospitalized for treatment of burns and other injury, and Izquierdo was treated at the scene for a cut and minor burn. They recovered.
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