Stephen David Sliwa saved Merry C. Banks from burning, Daytona Beach, Florida, May 10, 2006. Banks, 92, was trapped inside her car after an accident in which the car struck an electrical ground station and caught fire at its front end. Bicycling nearby, Sliwa, 33, racecar driver, heard the ground station explode and then saw smoke from the scene. He responded to the car, finding flames issuing high off the hood on its driver’s side. Sliwa attempted to open the front passenger door but found it locked. After shouting at Banks to unlock the door, Sliwa opened it and, entering the car, kneeled on the passenger seat. Smoke and intense heat filled the car. Sliwa released Banks’s safety belt, freed her leg, and, cradling her, pulled her from the car. He ran with her to safety, an explosive rush of flame shortly filling the car’s interior. Flames engulfed the vehicle. Banks sustained minor injuries.
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