Robert F. Generelli helped to save Georgianna Festa, and assisted in an attempt to save Carmine J. Festa from burning, Worcester, Massachusetts, April 16, 1968. Mrs. Festa, 67, was in a four-door sedan being driven by her husband, 67, when it and a gasoline truck traveling in the opposite direction passed beneath an overpass still under construction. Several steel girders on the overpass broke loose at one end and fell to the street. The first two fell on the truck and caused its fuel tank to ignite. One girder fell on the sedan, pinning Festa against the steering wheel and causing his wife to sustain chest injuries. Generelli, 23, apprentice carpenter, and six other men ran to the sedan to try to remove the occupants lest they be fatally burned if the gasoline truck exploded. Spencer S. Leek forced open the right front door, which was on the opposite side of the automobile from flames rising 12 feet above the pavement at the truck. Frederick J. Barletta, Sr. and Leo C. Snyder, Jr. pulled Mrs. Festa out of the sedan. Generelli, Paul George Loiseau, Frank John Hayes, and Robert G. Thompson, Jr. then carried her to a point of safety, returning to the automobile within seconds. Barletta leaned into the sedan but was unable to budge Festa. Loiseau then climbed partially into the front seat. Leek opened the rear door, and Hayes got into the rear compartment. He reached over the front seat and aided Loiseau in trying to free Festa. The other men attempted to give assistance. There then was a muffled thud at the gasoline truck; and flames shot out, striking the side of the sedan opposite the men. At a shout of warning from Barletta about the girders, all of the men started to leave. Another girder fell, resulting in varying degrees of injury to each of the seven men. Generelli was hospitalized, suffering partial disablement as the result of injuries to his back. Festa died, but his wife recovered.
50715 – 561950715-5619