Mark A. Potter saved Lindsey M. Ryder and helped to save Evan J. Moody from burning, Canaan, Maine, September 3, 2003. Ms. Ryder, 22, was the driver of a car that left the roadway, went part way down an embankment, and came to rest on its passenger side against small trees, flames breaking out at its front end. She was trapped in the car, as was her son, Evan, 3, who remained restrained in a safety seat in the back-seat area. Potter, 42, dental equipment technician who lived nearby, heard the accident and ran to the scene. He mounted the vehicle to its driver’s side and opened the driver’s door, then reached inside, grasped Ms. Ryder, and pulled her out. Despite growing flames and intensifying smoke in the car’s interior, Potter entered the car completely and worked to free Evan from his seat. Flagged down while passing by, another man had responded to the car by then, and he too mounted its driver’s side, where he held the driver’s door open. Using a knife provided by a bystander, Potter cut the straps of Evan’s seat, the other man partially entering the car to assist. Thus freed, Evan was passed outside the car by the other man to Ms. Ryder. The other man then aided Potter, who was nearly exhausted, from the car, and they, along with Ms. Ryder and Evan, returned up the embankment to safety. Spreading flames virtually engulfed the car shortly. Ms. Ryder and Evan were treated at the hospital for bruises, and they recovered. Potter sustained minor smoke inhalation, from which he recovered.
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