ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — Two young men from St. Paul helped their neighbor out of a fiery car crash last month.
The St. Paul Fire Chief says Jackson Mask and Austin Wark are heroes. The two 19-year-olds each received a Meritorious Service Award, the highest honor the fire department can give a citizen.
“He went straight through the garage door and hit this wall. From what they were saying, he had to be doing like 40, 30 miles per hour,” recalled Mask of St. Paul.
The St. Paul Fire Department said a medical episode kept Jonathan Lindeke inside his car after it crashed into the garage at his four-plex and then caught fire.
“And I look out the window and you just see smoke coming from the garage, like big piles, it was white at first,” recalled Wark, also of St. Paul. “And he was like, ‘Get my car, get my car, I want to save my car’ and I’m just sittin’ there like ‘John, I’m sorry, but your car is not going to be OK,'”
Mask and Wark got Lindeke out of the burning garage before fire fighters arrived. The medals they received on Wednesday will help them remember their heroism.
“Without your swift and selfless actions, he would certainly have suffered severe and painful burns, or he would have succumbed to smoke inhalation and died,” said St. Paul Fire Department Chief Tim Butler.
Lots of friends and family members shared the award ceremony with Mask and Wark, including a proud grandma.
“I think it’s a wonderful act, it’s an awful, scary thing for a person to do, but it’s a brave act and I’m very proud of him,” said Wark’s grandmother, Cheryl Wark.
She also said she would like Wark to pursue a career as a firefighter.