Keith Leuci rescued James E. Barnes from burning, Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey, August 20, 2004. Barnes, 26, was the passenger of an automobile that collided with a sport utility vehicle entering its lane. The sport utility vehicle then struck another car and landed atop it. All three vehicles caught fire, with flames issuing from the rear and passenger side of the car Barnes was in, and spreading to its interior. Leuci, 38, carpenter, came upon the scene. Responding to the wreckage, he heard a scream, then saw Barnes attempting to climb through the window of the driver’s door. Although he himself was injured in a highway accident just weeks earlier, Leuci ran to that car’s driver’s door. He attempted to open it but found it jammed. Leuci then bent down the top of the door frame, reached through the opening, and grasped Barnes. Flames were growing inside the car and heat was blistering as Leuci tugged on Barnes and pulled him from the vehicle. They fell to the pavement. Leuci and others took Barnes to safety as flames virtually engulfed the vehicle, the driver of which died at the scene. Barnes was hospitalized for treatment of his significant injuries, which included severe burns. Leuci also required medical attention, for minor burns and other injuries.
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