Recently, a middle school teacher heroically saved the day, by pulling a wheelchair-bound man from an engulfed vehicle in Manchester, Connecticut. Apparently, the educator pulled the man from the car at the last minute before the car became “fully engulfed.”
Heather Sica-Leonard, a teacher at Illing Middle School, was driving on the interstate when she found a car smoking in front of her. She immediately pulled over and jumped into action. “I was just reacting to what looked like a driver struggling and a vehicle smoking. I had no idea the fire had started because it was the lower side of the dash,” Sica-Leonard told NBC Connecticut. “When I saw it, I asked him if he was struck. He said ‘No. I’m handicapped. I need my chair.’ So I grabbed his chair, helped him get in and then moved away from the vehicle,” she continued.
“I saw the smoke, I didn’t see the fire so I’m like, is something broken down and it was smoking? And then, why is he not out of the car yet? Something just didn’t sit right with me,” said Sica-Leonard. The fire had started within the van, so the timing was of the essence. She approached the man, grabbed his wheelchair, and extracted him from the vehicle bringing him to safety. Heather is being heralded for her heroic bravery in saving this man’s life. The Manchester Fire Rescue EMS (MFRE) wrote in a Facebook post:
This afternoon MFRE responded to Interstate 384 eastbound for a car fire. Responding companies found a van, well involved with fire, and subsequently extinguished it using water, foam and dry chemical agents. The fuel tank ruptured, causing a persistent fuel fire and subsequent spill, which entered storm drains, requiring a response from DEEP to assess damage and coordinate cleanup. However, the real story here is with the individuals in the first picture. John was the driver of the van and is mobility limited, using a wheelchair. While driving his van down Main Street he smelled smoke, then moved a cup holder to find flames coming from his dash. He stopped the vehicle on the side of the ramp, suddenly finding himself in a burning car. Heather Sica Leonard is a middle school teacher at Illing Middle School in Manchester, who happened to be driving down the ramp at the same time, and saw the car on fire. She immediately stopped, approached the burning vehicle and selflessly got John and his wheelchair out of the car and moved him to safety, all at great personal risk to injury. Her actions averted an almost certain fatal outcome and prevented anyone from being injured. Well done Heather! #manchesterctfire
According to the rescue squad, the middle school teacher rescued the man moments before the car was “fully engulfed.” The MFRE continued in a separate post, which shared bodycam footage of them extinguishing the smoldering vehicle:
Helmet camera perspective from the initial fire attack for the car fire on I-384 yesterday. Engine 4 stretches the attack line on a well involved van, where moments earlier, a middle school treacher rescued the driver before the vehicle became fully engulfed.
Heather Sica-Leonard’s selfless actions saved a man’s life from what would’ve certainly been a fatal scenario.
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