Rubin A. Vigil helped to rescue Luis G., Teresa G., Cesar G., and Susanna Lopez from burning, Westminster, California, May 25, 1987. The car containing the Lopez family was struck from behind by a pickup truck and immediately burst into flame. Driving nearby, Vigil, 28, grocery store clerk, ran to the scene, where another man was attempting to remove Lopez, 31, from the driver’s seat of the burning car. Vigil leaned into the car and freed Lopez’s foot, then he and the other man pulled Lopez out of the car and guided him to safety. Returning to the burning car, Vigil and the other man leaned inside and removed Mrs. Lopez, 31. Despite flames spreading on the exterior of the car and heavy smoke filling its interior, Vigil entered the car for Cesar, 5, whom he and the other man removed from the back seat. After Vigil and the other man located Susanna, 6, and as they were removing her from the back seat, a burst of flame knocked them to the ground. Vigil required hospital treatment for first- and second-degree burns to his forearms, and he recovered. The Lopez family also required hospital treatment for their burns.
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