On 30 June 2013, a Nissan Maxima hit a power pole near Corona, California, so hard that the power pole broke into three pieces and was pulled out of the ground. The car tipped over on the passenger side and caught fire. Inside the car was the unconscious driver, who suffered a broken leg, two broken arms, and head injuries. Fortunately, Corona resident and off-duty firefighter Curtis Carter, age 44, witnessed the accident. Also fortunately, he had with him a walnut-handled Bone Collector pocketknife — an anniversary present from his wife. Mr. Carter used the knife to cut the driver’s seatbelt, and he, another Good Samaritan, and an ambulance crew pulled the unconscious driver out of the car. After Mr. Carter and his wife witnessed the accident, he and the other Good Samaritan pulled the car that had had the accident upright. An ambulance crew that happened to be nearby tried to extinguish the fire. Mr. Carter said, “I knew the fire had gotten a hold of the car, so my concern was getting the individual out of the car in a timely manner.” Because the fire was under the car and in the engine compartment, it could not be completely put out. Mr. Carter cut the unconscious driver’s seatbelt with his knife, and then, he said, “We basically had to drag him out of the car.” Shortly after the man was pulled out of the car, it was engulfed in flames. Mr. Carter, who has been a firefighter for 18 years, said that what he did was “not a big deal.” Mr. Carter had to perform one more duty after saving the man’s life. The firefighters he works with have an unwritten rule: Any firefighter who gets his name or photograph in the newspaper has to buy ice cream for everybody.
For Further Information: Brian Rokos, “CORONA: Off-duty firefighter used anniversary gift to save driver.” The Press-Enterprise (Riverside, California). 1 July 2013
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