A 32-year-old truck driver from Florida yesterday received a major national award for heroism.
Jason Williams is one of 20 recipients of the Carnegie Medal given for civilian heroism.
Williams was recognized for rescuing Michael J. Bridges from a burning vehicle in Apopka, Florida Aug. 4, 2016.
Bridges, 61, was driving a dump truck that blew a tire, left the roadway, traveled about 200 feet until it hit a ditch, rolled onto its driver’s side and caught fire at its front end, according to a statement from the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission.
In explaining its award to Williams, the commission said:
Williams witnessed the accident and stopped to assist. He approached the front end of the vehicle, initially intending to break out the windshield, and heard screams coming from the passenger side. Despite flames burning at the front end and underside of the vehicle, Williams climbed atop the vehicle and opened the passenger door. He extended his head and arms inside, pulled on Bridges’s arms but slipped and fell from the truck.
He again climbed to the top of the truck and reached inside, grasped Bridges about his belt and pulled him out of the vehicle. Bridges rolled over Williams, and both men fell from the vehicle to the ground. A woman who responded assisted Williams in aiding Bridges to safety.
Flames grew to engulf the cab. Bridges required hospital treatment for his injuries, which included severe burns. Williams suffered minor burns, and he recovered.
The Carnegie Medal is given throughout the United States and Canada to those who risk their lives to an extraordinary degree while saving or attempting to save the lives of others. The heroes announced today bring to 77 the number of awards made in 2017 and to 9,991 the total number since the Pittsburgh-based fund’s inception in 1904.