Lyle W. Slusher saved Linda E. Wortman and three others from burning and an explosion, South Newbury, Ohio, May 3, 1962. Linda, 6, her twin sister Lynn, and another sister Terri Jean, 4, were in a two- door compact station wagon driven by their father, Richard H. Wortman, when the vehicle veered from the highway into a steep bank and rolled over once. The twins were thrown into the freight compartment, while Terri Jean landed on the floor ahead of the rear seat. Wortman was thrown from the station wagon, and the lower half of his body was pinned beneath the doorframe as the vehicle leaned toward the bank. Gasoline which had spilled from a lawn mower in the freight compartment caught fire. Slusher, 24, truck driver, and his wife stopped their automobile near the station wagon. Slusher ran to the right side of the burning vehicle and with some difficulty opened the door. With only his feet outside, Slusher reached into the freight compartment and removed both Linda and Lynn. Flames in the opposite corner of the compartment were spreading rapidly. After taking the twins to his wife, Slusher returned to the right door. Flames then extended along the opposite side from the floor to the roof. Slusher reached into the rear seat section to within a foot of the flames and took hold of Terri Jean. After freeing her foot, which was caught under the front seat, he carried her to his wife. Slusher then ran to the other side of the station wagon, saw Wortman, and called for assistance from others who meanwhile had arrived. No one responded. By that time flames nearly filled the station wagon and were issuing in gusts through the open door near Wortman. Within a foot of the flames Slusher braced himself against the vehicle, raised it slightly, and pulled Wortman from beneath the doorframe. He tore off Wortman’s burning attire and started dragging him away. They had reached the front end of the vehicle when the fuel tank exploded, engulfing the station wagon in flames and showering them with debris. Slusher quickly dragged Wortman away. Wortman was hospitalized for burns on the lower part of his body. Slusher’s hair was singed, and his hands were burned. Both men recovered.
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