Helio J. Tavares rescued Jesse L. Clay from burning, Santa Rosa, California, November 13, 1981. Clay, 53, lay unconscious in his car after it left the roadway, struck a tree, and began to burn. With difficulty, Tavares, 43, electronics technician, opened the driver’s door and, despite flames in the front-seat area of the car, reached inside for Clay. He pulled Clay from the flames, then, using his coat as a shield against the intense heat, freed Clay’s feet from the pedals. Tavares then dragged Clay away from the car, which shortly after filled with flames. Clay was hospitalized for severe burns to his head and torso. Tavares recovered from lesser burns to his hands and arms.
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