Joseph N. Sansalone rescued William F. Mufalli III from burning, Franklinville, New Jersey, December 19, 1998. Mufalli, 21, was unconscious in the driver’s seat of his car after a highway accident in which the car struck a utility pole and caught fire. Flames grew quickly and spread, including to the interior of the car. Sansalone, 36, truck driver, responded to the scene from a nearby residence. He attempted to open the driver’s door of the burning car but found it locked. Sansalone then obtained a metal sign from the roadside and struck the window of the driver’s door with it, breaking it. He reached into the car and unlocked then opened the door. Despite flames on the dashboard and back seats of the car, Sansalone extended his upper body into the vehicle, grasped Mufalli, and, after some difficulty, pulled him from the car and dragged him away. The car was shortly engulfed by flame. Mufalli was badly burned, and Sansalone’s own shirt had caught fire at some point during the rescue. Mufalli was hospitalized five months for treatment of his burns and other injuries. Sansalone also required hospital treatment, for smoke inhalation and minor burns to his forehead and fingers of both hands.
73312 – 835373312-8353