Jason Wayne Spencer helped to save Lauren M. Coffee from burning, Columbia City, Indiana, February 21, 2008. Coffee, 18, was the driver of a four-door automobile that, at night, left a snowy highway at a bridge, went down a steep embankment, and came to rest on its roof in a creek about three feet deep. At some point, flames broke out on the vehicle and spread to its underside. Spencer, 35, deputy sheriff, responded to the scene and descended the embankment to the car. He emptied a fire extinguisher on the flames as a man who had arrived earlier was attempting to pull Coffee through the window of the driver’s door. Spencer then grasped Coffee and helped in removing her from the vehicle and carrying her to the creek with others as something on the car exploded. Because the embankment was steep and icy, the men carried Coffee through the creek to a point underneath the bridge, where they rested briefly as smoke from the fire hung in the air there. Another explosion at the vehicle occurred. Other responders carried Coffee back to the level of the highway, and she was taken to the hospital for treatment of her injuries. Spencer was given oxygen at the scene for inhaling smoke. He recovered.
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