Lawrence Gonzi helped to save Clifford M. Gandy from burning, Elk Grove, California, June 25, 2003. Gandy, 70, was unconscious in the driver’s seat of a pickup truck after an accident in which the truck struck two parked vehicles, then crossed a lawn and struck a one-story residence. The truck was partially embedded in the residence, one of the other vehicles ending up on the lawn just a few feet away. A gas line at the residence was severed in the accident, and escaping gas under pressure caught fire, flames spreading to the truck and the residence. Neighbors, including Gonzi, 53, real estate broker and general contractor, heard the crash and responded to the scene. Making his way between the wrecked vehicles, Gonzi went to the driver’s door of the truck and opened it, despite the truck’s positioning over the burning gas line. Unable to release Gandy’s safety belt, Gonzi shouted for a knife, and one was handed to him. He cut the belt and, with difficulty, pulled Gandy from the cab, a woman from the neighborhood arriving to pull on Gonzi as he did so. Gonzi and the woman then dragged Gandy from between the vehicles and to a point of safety across the street. Flames grew quickly on the truck and in the residence. Gandy was taken to the hospital for observation.
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