Joel F. Dube saved Albert F. Martellucci and Hilda M. and Ara G. Topjian from burning, Medford, Massachusetts, September 3, 1992. Martellucci, 50, was the driver of an automobile that was struck from behind on an interstate highway. His passengers were Mrs. Topjian, 53, who was in the back seat, and her son, 25, who was in the front seat. The rear of the car caught fire, and dense black smoke filled the car’s interior through its broken rear window. A motorist on the same highway, Dube, 25, delivery van driver, witnessed the accident and stopped at the scene. After obtaining a tire iron from another motorist, Dube broke out the driver’s window of the burning car, providing egress for Topjian. Dube then leaned through the window, seized Martellucci, and pulled him out of the car. By then flames had entered the car through the back window. Topjian opened the rear door of the car for his mother, who lay unconscious on the back seat. As he began to pull her from the car, his clothing caught fire, and he fell to the pavement. Dube then stepped up to the open door, grasped Mrs. Topjian, and pulled her, through flames, out of the car. The three victims required hospital treatment for their injuries, the Topjians’ including severe burns. Dube was treated at the hospital for a first-degree burn to his right hand, and he recovered.
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