Howard Augusta Thurston helped to rescue Ann H. Robertson from burning, Midlothian, Virginia, March 15, 2006. Robertson, 63, was the driver of an automobile that was struck from behind by another vehicle at night. At impact, fire erupted on the back of the car, which then left a trail of flames as it moved from the highway. Other motorists, including Thurston, 57, equipment repair technician and farmer, stopped at the scene. He opened the driver’s door and entered the car, finding Robertson on the floor behind the front seat. Repelled by smoke, he exited the vehicle and went to its passenger side, but trees there blocked access to the car. Another man entered the car and from the front seat saw that flames had entered its interior and were spreading to the back seat. After he too left the car, Thurston entered it a second time and from the front seat patted out flames around Robertson. He tried to pull her from the floor but was not successful before having to leave for air again. On his third entry, Thurston succeeded in pulling Robertson over and onto the front seat. The other man reached inside the vehicle and with Thurston pulled her from the car and carried her to safety. Moments later the interior of the car was engulfed by flames. Robertson required hospitalization for extensive burns.
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