Steven A. Martin rescued Larina L. Hoppel from burning, Patton, Pennsylvania, September 6, 2014. Hoppel, 36, was the driver of a car that, in a highway accident, left the roadway and struck a wooden utility pole. The car came to rest on a grassy embankment, upright and against the pole. The top of the pole broke off in the accident, taking down wires, including a 12,470-volt line, and fell between the car and the base of the pole. Fire broke out immediately inside the car, burning Hoppel, who, trapped in the wreckage, screamed for help. Another motorist, Martin, 39, financial services associate, witnessed the accident. He ran to the driver’s side of the car and touched it lightly to see if it was energized. He then leaned toward Hoppel, who was reaching out through the broken windshield, and grasped her by the arms while avoiding the downed lines. Martin pulled on Hoppel, but without success, as he had insufficient leverage because of the car’s positioning. With Hoppel then grasping Martin around his neck, he moved backward, pulling her from the vehicle to the ground beside it. Martin and another man carried Hoppel to safety, after which flames grew on the car to engulf it, the downed lines sparking and popping. Hoppel was hospitalized for two months for treatment of severe burns. Martin was not injured.
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