John R. Wilson, 19, student, saved Erwin M. Smith, 63, barber, from burning, Seattle, Washingotn, July 18, 1957. At an intersection a sedan struck a station wagon which Smith was driving, causing it to overturn on its right side and throwing Smith, stunned although not seriously injured, to a seated position on the right door as flames broke out at the rear end, which housed the engine and the fuel tank. The youth who had been driving the sedan ran to the Smith vehicle and opened the left door but was forced to retreat as flames inside spread to within a foot of Smith. Wilson, who had witnessed the accident, ran to the station wagon, where flames spread over the pavement while flames inside burned about the legs of Smith, who had risen to a standing position in the doorway but was too dazed to climb out. Heat was intense. Tongues of flame flared near Wilson as he attempted to obtain a hold on the back of Smith’s belt, forcing him to withdraw his arms briefly. He then took hold of the back of Smith’s jacket and pulled him part way onto the door frame, where his clothing became caught on a projection. Shifting one hand to Smith’s belt, Wilson pulled forcibly, ripping Smith’s clothing, and dragged him from the vehicle. Wilson fell to the pavement with Smith on top of him as flames filled the vehicle and issued upward through the doorway. Smith and Wilson got to their feet and ran to safety. Within a minute the entire vehicle was burning, flames rising 25 feet above it and destroying all but the metal parts. Smith suffered a bum on one ear, which healed, and much of his hair was singed away. The hair on one hand of Wilson was singed.
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