Zachary J. Corey and Karen Marie Mallon saved Olivia L. Thomas and Addalyn A. Thomas from burning, Benzonia, Michigan, November 1, 2016.
Olivia, 6, and her sister Addalyn, 13 days old, along with their mother and 8-year-old sister were in a vehicle that struck a tow truck head on, traveled off the road, and into a shallow ditch where it caught fire. Olivia was in the front passenger seat and Addalyn was in a rear car seat; both were conscious.
Corey, 27, driver of the tow truck of Beulah, Mich., ran to the passenger side of the vehicle where he saw Olivia in the front passenger seat. Unable to open the door, Corey grasped the window frame and pulled on it, forcing the door open slightly. He extended his upper body inside the vehicle and removed Olivia’s seat belt, then grasped her and pulled her out.
Karen Marie Mallon, 51, secretary, also of Beulah, arrived and was alerted to the presence of children in the vehicle. Mallon entered through the open rear passenger-side door and knelt on the seat while trying to remove Addalyn from her car seat. With difficulty Mallon freed Addalyn from the seat, picked her up, and exited the vehicle with her, taking her to safety.
The vehicle was shortly engulfed by flames. Olivia’s mother and 8-year-old sister did not survive. Olivia and Addalyn were treated at a hospital for minor injuries; neither was burned.
Corey was treated at a hospital for a minor injury sustained in the accident; he recovered.