Kenneth Lee Thompson saved Ann B. and helped to save William A. Byrne from burning, Martin, South Dakota, March 10, 2005. During a dust storm with high winds, Ms. Byrne and her husband, both 87, were trapped inside their car after an accident in which the car left the roadway, entered a ditch, and caught fire at its rear end. Ms. Byrne was unable to open the passenger door, and her husband was rendered unconscious. Ms. Byrne pounded on the window and shouted for help. Thompson, 35, maintenance worker, and a coworker drove upon the scene and stopped. While Thompson called for help, the coworker approached the burning car and attempted to open its doors. Unsuccessful, he returned to the men’s vehicle for a fire extinguisher. Thompson also responded to the car and attempted to open its doors. He then removed the window of the passenger door, assisted Ms. Byrne from the car, and carried her to safety. Learning that Byrne was still in the vehicle, Thompson and the coworker returned to it. Thompson used the fire extinguisher against the flames, which by then had reached the back-seat area, and he opened the passenger door. He and the coworker partially entered the car and grasped Byrne, and then they pulled him through the passenger door and carried him to safety. Flames shortly engulfed the car’s interior. Byrne and his wife were hospitalized for treatment of their injuries. Thompson also received hospital treatment, for minor burns to a hand, and he inhaled smoke. He recovered.
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