Connecticut Schoolteacher Rescues Unconscious Driver From Burning Car

A middle school teacher was praised by Connecticut firefighters after she pulled an unconscious driver from a burning vehicle on Thursday, February 23.

Manchester Fire Rescue EMS said Heather Sica Leonard, a teacher at Illing Middle School in Manchester, almost certainly saved the driver’s life.

The driver, John, has limited mobility and uses a wheelchair, Manchester Fire Rescue EMS said. “While driving his van down Main Street he smelled smoke, then moved a cup holder to find flames coming from his dash,” the department said, adding that he came to a stop on a highway ramp as his car became completely engulfed in flames. The fuel tank of his van had ruptured, causing a fire, the department said.

Leonard spotted the emergency unfolding on the highway ramp and stopped her car to help. “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,” the department said. “Her actions averted an almost certain fatal outcome and prevented anyone from being injured.”

Helmet camera provided by the Manchester Fire Rescue EMS shows firefighters responding to the scene on Thursday. Credit: Manchester Fire Rescue EMS via Storyful

Video transcript