Kansas deputy gets Carnegie Medal for risking his life to pull 2 children from burning vehicle

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(Courtesy: Phillips County Sheriff)

PHILLIPS COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) – A deputy with the Phillips County Sheriff’s Office is getting North America’s highest honor for civilian heroism. The Carnegie Hero Fund is giving Deputy John Miner of Phillipsburg the Carnegie Medal.

On Nov. 4, 2020, Miner stopped to assist a disabled motorist on Highway 383 near West 800 Road.

While he was trying to help, a semi-truck and trailer ran into the rear of his patrol vehicle, causing it to go into the ditch. The semi then struck two pickup trucks that had been in front of the deputy’s vehicle. One of the semi’s fuel tanks ruptured and began spraying diesel fuel.

The semi and the pickups caught on fire. Miner learned two children were in the backseat of one of the pickups. To get to them, he had to go through the flames on the truck’s passenger side and open the rear door. He managed to get a 4-year-old girl out and took her to her father.

Then he went back to the burning side of the pickup to get a 2-year-old boy in a car seat. Miner could not unlatch the harness, so he cut it with a pocketknife. He freed the boy, but flames spread and ignited the deputy’s pant leg as he did.

The boy and the girl were not hurt, but Miner suffered second and third-degree burns that required skin-grafting surgery. Everyone survived the crash.

According to the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission, the Carnegie Medal is given throughout the U.S. and Canada to those who enter extreme danger while saving or attempting to save the lives of others.

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