Jeffrey Rivera helped to rescue Daureen M. Parker from burning, Palm Harbor, Florida, December 8, 2000. Ms. Parker, 48, was unconscious in the driver’s seat of her van, which had left the highway, entered the lot of a service station, and knocked over a gasoline pump before coming to rest just short of the door to the service station store. Flames broke out at the pump island and on the toppled pump and the exterior of the van. Rivera, 35, salesman, had been standing in the store. After witnessing the accident, he ran to the passenger side of the van and tried to open its doors, but they were locked. Using a stepladder from the store, he struck and broke out the window to the front passenger door, then unlocked and opened the door. Entering the van, he pulled on Ms. Parker but could not move her. Flames increased and entered the van through the window of the driver’s door, which broke at some point. Rivera emerged from the van and shouted for help. A motorist who also had witnessed the accident stopped at the scene. After Rivera re-entered the van and began to dislodge Ms. Parker, both men leaned inside, grasped her, and pulled her from the vehicle. They dragged and carried her to safety as the van became nearly engulfed by flames. Ms. Parker sustained severe burns to her left side for which she required hospitalization and surgery. Rivera also required hospital treatment, for smoke inhalation and a first-degree burn to his temple. Both recovered.
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