Spencer C. Madrie saved Hollea D. Battles from burning, Gadsden, Alabama, July 26, 2004. Battles, 24, was trapped in her car after an accident in which the car left the highway, entered the premises of a gasoline station, and struck and knocked over a fuel pump. Spilled gasoline caught fire in the vicinity of the car’s fuel tank, and flames spread quickly to envelope the driver’s side of the car. Battles released her safety belt but found that the car’s doors were inoperable. She screamed for help. Madrie, 18, high school student, witnessed the accident, then, failing to see Battles emerge from her car, left his vehicle and ran to the scene. Despite the growing flames, Madrie approached the passenger side of the car and attempted without success to open the door. He then kicked the window to break it out but was again unsuccessful. Forcing his fingers into the seam around the door, Madrie pried the door open, then with difficulty forced it open wide enough to provide access. He reached into the smoke-filled car, grabbed Battles by the arm, and helped her out. They ran to safety as flames grew high above the car and entered it along the driver’s side. Battles required hospital treatment for her injuries, but she was not burned. She recovered.
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