Fred D. Leslie III helped to rescue Larry L. Russell from burning, Knoxville, Tennessee, March 13, 2012. Unconscious, Russell, 36, a highway patrol officer, remained in the driver’s seat of his patrol car after a nighttime accident in which the vehicle, while parked on a shoulder of an interstate highway, was struck from behind by a tractor-trailer. The impact ruptured the car’s fuel tank and sent the vehicle aflame across the highway, where it struck a concrete barrier. Flames spread from the rear of the car to its interior. Those responding to the wreckage included Leslie, 35, a paramedic with a private ambulance company. Leslie emptied a fire extinguisher on flames at the rear of the patrol car, but to little effect. Despite flames encroaching on the front passenger compartment, Leslie leaned through the opened driver’s door, grasped Russell, and pulled on him but found him to be stuck in the wreckage. Leslie then grasped Russell by his legs and pulled, freeing him. Leslie pulled Russell partially from the vehicle and then was aided by others in removing him and taking him across the highway to safety. Flames grew quickly to engulf the vehicle, destroying it. Russell required lengthy hospitalization for treatment of extensive injuries, including burns. Leslie sustained minor burns to his face, for which he too received hospital treatment. He recovered.
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