William Smith saved Stanislau J. Kavalsky from burning, Hackensack, New Jersey, February 28, 2012. Stopped at an intersection while driving, Kavalsky, 82, remained in the driver’s seat of his car after fire broke out in the front passenger-seat area and filled the car with dense smoke. Seeing the smoke, Smith, 31, retail shop employee, left his place of employment nearby and responded to the car to investigate. He went to the driver’s door and told Kavalsky to exit the vehicle. When he would not, Smith opened the door, leaned into the vehicle, and freed Kavalsky of his safety belt, flames by then spreading to the back-seat area of the car and growing in the front-seat area. Having to pry Kavalsky’s hands from the steering wheel, Smith lifted Kavalsky from the vehicle and walked him quickly to safety. Within seconds, one of several oxygen cylinders in the car’s passenger compartment exploded, followed shortly by two others, damaging vehicles and a building in the vicinity and injuring responding police and a firefighter. Kavalsky required hospitalization, but Smith was not injured.
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