Michael Earl Gay, Sr., rescued Jodi K. Oakes from burning, Alturas, Florida, November 11, 2009. Oakes, 28, was the driver of an automobile that, at night, left the roadway and struck a tree. Flames broke out at the front of the vehicle. Driving nearby, Gay, 43, survey technician, stopped at the scene on seeing the flames and then approached the car. Hearing Oakes scream, he went to the driver’s side of the car but found flames issuing through the window of the driver’s door. He went to the passenger side, bent the frame of the passenger-door window to get it out of the way, and then leaned head first into the car, to his waist, despite flames inside the vehicle, on the driver’s side. He grasped Oakes, who was aflame, and, backing out of the car, pulled her through the window. She dropped to the ground, where Gay patted out the flames on her hair and torso. He then dragged her farther from the car, which became engulfed by flames. Oakes required extensive hospitalization for treatment of her injuries, which included severe burns. Gay also was treated at the hospital, for second-degree burns to his hands. He recovered.
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