Sergeant William Buchanan (Avery County Sheriff's Office, North Carolina) and Emergency Medical Technician Sean Ochsenbein (Putnam County Rescue Squad, Tennessee) are being honored for rescuing a trapped driver from a burning car.
On February 13, 2016, Sergeant William Buchanan and Emergency Medical Technician Sean Ochsenbein simultaneously came upon the aftermath of a head-on collision involving two cars that were on fire.
Sergeant Buchanan and EMT Ochsenbein quickly determined that one driver was already dead and the other driver was unconscious and trapped in his car with his knees pinned under the dashboard. Flames were spreading inside the car as both Sergeant Buchanan and EMT Ochsenbein attempted to free him. The damage to the car prevented the officers from opening the car doors, and EMT Ochsenbein, temporarily blinded by smoke, was unable to reach the driver after he crawled through the car's back hatch.
EMT Ochsenbein then retrieved a heavy-duty ratchet strap from his car and, with Sergeant Buchanan, attached it to the burning car's door and pulled it open. They were then able to pull the driver from the car and begin providing medical care.
If not for the actions of Sergeant Buchanan and EMT Ochsenbein, this driver, who ultimately recovered from his injuries, would likely have perished at the scene.
Sergeant Buchanan was later promoted to the rank of lieutenant.