George Alfred Sanchez rescued Marcus Barraza from burning, Mesquite, Texas, March 15, 1999. Barraza, 55, was unconscious in the driver’s seat of his car after an accident on an interstate highway in which the car was struck from behind. Flames broke out at the rear of the car and grew, entering its interior, in the back-seat area. Sanchez, 32, bakery employee, was driving on the same highway and stopped at the scene when he saw the burning car. He approached the driver’s side and, after attempting without success to open the front door, kicked in the door’s window. Sanchez reached into the car and released Barraza’s safety belt. He then ran to the passenger side of the car, opened the front door, and entered, but dense smoke and blistering heat caused him to withdraw. Sanchez entered again, grabbed Barraza by the collar, and pulled him across the seat and out of the car. He lowered Barraza to the pavement, then dragged him about 30 feet to safety, the car shortly becoming engulfed by flame. Barraza sustained burns to his upper torso and face and required hospitalization. Sanchez also required hospital treatment, for first- and second-degree burns to his left arm, the left side of his face, and his forehead. He recovered.
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