Jason William Gingras helped to rescue Kevin R. Reed from burning, St. Petersburg, Florida, February 11, 2014. Reed, 46, was unconscious in the driver’s seat of a burning cargo van transporting pool chemicals after it struck a tree head on. Gingras, 34, boilermaker, was the passenger of a vehicle, driven by a coworker, that had just parked nearby. Witnessing the accident, the men ran to the scene, finding that flames were filling the van, having spread from its rear to the driver’s seat. The coworker reached into the van through the opened driver’s door and felt for Reed’s safety belt release, but flames caused him to withdraw. Gingras pulled Reed’s safety belt away from his left shoulder and cut it with a pocketknife. As Gingras then grasped Reed, who was aflame, about the upper body, his coworker extended his arms around Reed’s legs, and together the men lifted him from the van and carried him to safety as the van filled with flames. They used Gingras’s shirt and their hands to extinguish the flames on Reed. Reed required lengthy hospitalization for treatment of burns to 30 percent of his body and inhalation injuries. Gingras sustained minor burns to an arm, and he fully recovered.
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