James Robert Burwell helped to save Donald L. Bates from burning, Tucson, Arizona, April 25, 2003. Bates, 72, was the driver of a car that, while stopped at an intersection, was struck from behind by another car. Its fuel tank ruptured, Bates’s car burst into flame and was pushed into the intersection, Bates remaining in the driver’s seat, unconscious. Also stopped at the intersection, Burwell, 41, motorcycle salesman, witnessed the accident. Despite flames issuing from the rear and along the driver’s side of Bates’s car and from the pavement in those areas, he went to the passenger side, where he leaned through the opened window and attempted to pull Bates out. He could move Bates only part way across the seat before he backed out for air. Another motorist approached and also leaned through the window in a rescue attempt, but he too withdrew. The men then leaned into the car together, and, with Burwell grasping Bates’s lower body and the other man grasping his arms and shirt, they pulled him, head first, through the window. A responding police officer helped them carry Bates to the sidewalk. Bates required hospital treatment for minor injuries, but he was not burned. Burwell sustained a burn to his forehead, and he recovered.
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