Fire Chief Jeff Warren uses the words bravery and heroism, but the three Bradley High School students who recently rescued a woman from a burning car said it was what they were supposed to do.
Devin Corn, Kyra Loughridge and Christopher Pfaff were recognized June 2 at Bradley High School by the Norwich Township Fire Department for their response to a two-car crash the students witnessed early May 27 at Roberts and Walker roads.
"You are in the presence of heroes," Warren said.
Their character is a "direct reflection of the administration at Bradley High School," Warren said.
Corn and Pfaff received the Citizen's Bravery Award and Loughridge received the Citizen's Distinguished Service Award. Warren presented each student with the certificates.
Loughridge, a senior, was driving to Bradley High School about 7:30 a.m. May 27. Corn, a sophomore, was riding with her.
Loughridge was driving east on Roberts Road and was stopped behind another car at a stop sign at the intersection with Walker Road. As the driver of the car pulled out onto Walker Road, it was struck by another vehicle traveling south on Walker Road.
The southbound car continued off the roadway and into a field where it caught fire a short time later, Warren said.
"I was right behind the car that got hit. I saw the car start to turn and it got hit. The other car went into the field (and) I thought, 'Did I really just see that?'" Loughridge said.
Loughridge said she feared the driver might be dead.
She and Corn ran to the car and Corn helped pull the woman, about 50 years old, according to Warren, from the vehicle. It caught fire by the time Norwich firefighters arrived.
Corn said he didn't see the crash because he was thinking about his final exams.
"When I got to the car, I opened the door and helped get her out," Corn said.
Corn had help from Pfaff, a junior, who was riding a bicycle to his home.
Pfaff had no scheduled final exams that day but he had gone to the school building to exercise.
Pfaff estimates he was about 50 yards away when he saw the crash and watched the vehicle careen into the field.
"I dropped my bike and ran to the field," Pfaff said. "It just came as an instinct to do it."
Corn and Pfaff moved the driver to the side of the road, where she remained unconscious as medics arrived. The woman is continuing to recover at an area hospital, Warren said.
"I just thought of it as common sense," Corn said. "It's just what I was supposed to do."
Corn's older brother, Christian, is a senior at Bradley High School who attends firefighting classes at Tolles Career and Technical Center.
Corn said he had considered becoming a firefighter because of his brother's experiences, but now he is more inclined than ever before to pursue a career as a firefighter.
The students also checked on the driver of the other car. Two Bradley students were in the car and the driver, who was not seriously injured, could not be extracted until firefighters arrived with the proper equipment, Warren said.
Bradley Principal Mindy Mordarski said the students are an example that not all teenagers are self-centered.
Mordarski said she went to the scene upon learning that Bradley students had been involved in an accident and saw the three teenagers filling out witness statements.
She said it was not immediately clear to her what the students had done.
"When I heard about it, I got chills," Mordarski said. "These are absolutely amazing young people."