Robert J. Beard rescued Ann M. McSwain from burning, Little Rock, Arkansas, July 17, 1964. When the four-door sedan in which Mrs. McSwain, 33, and her husband were riding was struck by another vehicle, the sedan’s fuel tank containing 12 gallons of gasoline was loosened. The leaking fuel caught fire as the automobile rolled 50 feet and stopped on its side. Hearing Mrs. McSwain scream for help, Robert, 16, schoolboy, ran to alongside the roof of the burning automobile. Flames filled the rear compartment, and others on the outside at the rear were generally three feet high. He opened the front door with the help of Mrs. McSwain’s husband. Robert held the door open and took hold of Mrs. McSwain, who had climbed onto the steering wheel. As the husband climbed through the opening, Robert aided Mrs. MeSwain to the pavement. The door then slammed shut, catching Robert’s thumb. Mrs. MeSwain’s husband and another man ran to Robert as the flames rose six feet at the rear of the sedan. Flames had spread inside the vehicle, and those issuing around the door burned Robert’s hand. The two men forcibly pulled Robert loose, injuring his thumb. Within a minute after Robert had been led away from the sedan, there was a sudden spread of flames which completely engulfed the vehicle. Mrs. McSwain and her husband had sustained burns. Robert’s thumb was fractured, and he required skin grafts for bums to his hand. All recovered.
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