Frank Oesterling helped to rescue Timothy C. Baptiste from burning, Butler, Pennsylvania, June 21, 2006. Following a highway accident in which a box truck at high speed struck the rear of his stopped automobile, Baptiste, 47, remained in the driver’s seat, unconscious and trapped by wreckage. The car, virtually demolished, had burst into flame as the vehicles veered across the highway, and they remained in contact. Flames grew and spread to the inside of the car and to the front of the truck. Oesterling, 50, sales engineer, was in his vehicle, stopped at the scene, and witnessed the accident. He approached the car and, despite its interior flames that dropped melting material, reached through the open window of the driver’s door and released Baptiste’s safety belt. Another motorist soon joined him, and together they grasped Baptiste about the arms and pulled on him, an explosion at the car occurring about then. Another man joined them, and he too reached inside the car through the window, to free Baptiste’s legs. The men then pulled Baptiste through the window and from the car and took him to safety moments before the car’s interior was engulfed by flames. Baptiste required hospitalization for treatment of extensive injuries, including burns. Oesterling sustained minor burns to an arm and ear.
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