Gary K. Gray helped to save Mark T. Yates from burning, Indianapolis, Indiana, January 4, 2005. Unconscious, Yates, 41, remained in the driver’s seat of his automobile after an accident in which the car struck a concrete abutment of an overpass. Fire broke out in the vehicle’s engine compartment. Gray, 52, funeral director, was driving the lead car of a procession and came upon the scene. He stopped the procession and with other men from it approached the burning car. They tried without success to open the driver’s door, then responded to the passenger side of the vehicle. One of the other men opened the front passenger door and entered the car for Yates, followed by another of the men. They tried to move Yates, but he was trapped in the wreckage. Despite flames nearby in the engine compartment and beginning to enter the interior through the dashboard, Gray opened the car’s rear passenger-side door and completely entered the rear-seat area. He moved toward the driver’s side, reached over the front seat, and manipulated both the steering wheel and Yates’s legs to free him. The two other men pulled Yates across the seat and out of the vehicle, but while they did so, the rear door was closed, leaving Gray inside the smoke-filled car. Gray felt for the door handle and opened the door, then exited the vehicle safely and helped the other men drag Yates to safety. Within a minute, flames engulfed the car. Yates required lengthy hospitalization for treatment of his injuries, but he was not burned.
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