James Michael Sidwell saved Donna M. Martin and helped to save Verna T. Cissell from burning, Bridgeton, Missouri, October 23, 1965. At night, Donna, 7, and her grandmother, Mrs. Cissell, 51, were knocked unconscious when their station wagon was involved in a collision and stopped in the middle of a highway with its front end against the side of a coupe. The fuel tank of the latter vehicle was ruptured, and burning gasoline spread over the road. As flames rose eight feet from the pavement at the rear of the two automobiles, Sidwell, 19, student, ran to near the coupe, saw that its only occupant had gotten out, and continued to the right side of the station wagon. Flames there rose a foot above the pavement beneath the front door, which Sidwell opened. The inside of the station wagon was filled with smoke, and there was a strong odor of gasoline. Extending his head and shoulders into the automobile, Sidwell probed the front seat and located Donna. He removed her and carried her to the edge of the road as two other men ran to the open door, located Mrs. Cissell on the floor, and began to extract her from the vehicle. As others who had gathered shouted warnings of a possible explosion, Sidwell returned and aided the two other men in pulling Mrs. Cissell from the automobile. He then helped one of the men in carrying her to the side of the road. Mrs. Cissell was hospitalized for her injuries and recovered. Sidwell sustained hand burns, which healed.
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James Michael Sidwell, of University City, Mo., died on Sept. 16, 1989. Funeral services were held at the Schrader Funeral Home in Ballwin, Mo., and he was buried in Oak Hill Cemetery in Kirkwood, Mo.
(Edited from an obituary provided by a family member.)