Matthew J. Shackles helped to rescue Jacqueline G. Rathjen from burning, Coram, New York, August 29, 2006. Following a highway accident at night that involved the sports car in which she was the passenger and two other vehicles, Rathjen, 20, was semiconscious in the front seat as flames began to spread from the driver’s side throughout the vehicle. Shackles, 23, university student and waiter, drove upon the scene and stopped, as did another motorist. Shackles responded to the passenger side of the car as four-foot flames issued from the driver’s side. He leaned through the exposed top of the car, grasped Rathjen, and started to pull on her, as did the other motorist. She did not budge. Heat from encroaching flames was intense as the men redoubled their efforts and were successful in freeing her. Grasping Rathjen about the arms and legs, they lifted her from the car and carried her to safety. Flames grew quickly to consume the vehicle. Rathjen required hospital treatment for her injuries, which included burns, and Shackles sustained minor burns to his left arm, from which he recovered.
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