Gerald Piacente helped to rescue Caitlin Kelly from burning, Milan, New York, June 19, 2009. Caitlin, 16, was the passenger in a pickup truck that left the roadway, struck a tree, and overturned onto its passenger side on the bank of a ditch. A motorist came upon the accident and called his home, which was less than a mile away, thereby alerting his father, Piacente, 60, teacher. Piacente immediately responded to the scene, where the pickup’s driver was emerging through the partially exposed window on the passenger side of the cab. Flames issued from the front of the truck and were spreading to its interior. After Piacente and his son took the driver to safety, Piacente returned to the truck on hearing Caitlin scream. He maneuvered head first through the passenger window up into the wreckage, to his waist, and unfastened Caitlin’s safety belt. Grasping her, he pulled her from the vehicle and to safety with the aid of his son. Flames grew to engulf and destroy the truck. Caitlin and the pickup’s driver were both hospitalized for treatment of their injuries, which included burns.
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