sk-rescue-carnegie-medal

Three Saskatchewan men will receive the Carnegie medal for rescuing a B.C. woman from a burning vehicle in the summer of 2007. ((Carnegie Hero Fund))

The world-famous Carnegie Hero Fund is recognizing three young men from Regina who pulled a B.C. woman from a burning vehicle two summers ago.

The organization on Tuesday honoured Mark Barnard, Michael Landry and Andrew Hilderman for their quick-thinking actions on July 23, 2007.

At around 1:30 a.m., according to reports of the time, Julie Wharram had crashed into an embankment along a highway near Armstrong, B.C.

Wharram, then 25, was trapped inside the vehicle hanging upside down by her safety belt.

The car was also on fire, with flames from the engine compartment and undercarriage threatening to engulf the entire vehicle.

The three Saskatchewan men, all 21 at the time, saw the flames, stopped their car and immediately tried to get Wharram to safety. A passenger, who was thrown clear of the wreck, was in shock and the young men helped him to safety.

Barnard crawled into the car to get Wharram. That first attempt failed and the flames were spreading to the interior of the car. The men then tried to douse the fire. They were able to reduce the flames, but only for a moment.

Landry then used a knife, obtained from another motorist who stopped, to cut Wharram's safety belt. He then manoeuvered the injured woman to the window where Barnard and Hilderman reached in and pulled her out.

Just as they carried her away, flames consumed the inside of the car.

Wharram suffered serious burns and other injuries, but has since recovered.

Various foundations have since honoured the Regina men, who had been vacationing in B.C., including the Royal Canadian Humane Association and now the Carnegie Fund.

They are among 20 people from across North America to receive the award. American philanthropist Andrew Carnegie established the Carnegie medal more than a century ago.