A 16 year-old Hellgate High School student celebrated his birthday Friday night by single handedly rescuing a man from a burning vehicle near his home by pulling the driver out through his side window to safety.

Missoula Rural Fire Chief Mike Bowman related how the story began to KGVO News.

“We received word of a possible vehicle accident on Highway 200 in the Cambridge Road area outside of Bonner with unknown injuries,” said Chief Bowman. “At that point en route 911 was relaying information that there was a vehicle rollover and the vehicle was on fire. The communications in that area are poor and there was very little to no cell service in the area, so we were able to piece a little bit together.”

Bowman said firefighters and EMT’s were wrapping up the scene when they learned of a remarkable rescue.

“It wasn't until later that we realized that a 16 year old boy lives just adjacent to where the accident happened,” he said. “He and his mom were at home and heard the commotion and he went out and saw a vehicle on fire and he ran over there and the victim was still seated in the driver's side of the vehicle that had rolled the vehicle was on fire. The gentleman had an altered level of consciousness and was only able to say that he was hurt and he couldn’t get out.”

Bowman then described how the young man rescued the driver.

“The boy couldn't open the doors, so he pulled the man out of the burning vehicle through the driver's side window and dragged him a fair distance away from the vehicle to safety,” he said. “He was probably not thinking too much about it, but his quick thinking and actions saved a man's life. Here's the other interesting part. His mom said ‘Do you know what's crazy about all of this? And I'm like, What's that? And he said, he wants to be a firefighter when he grows up. I was like, well, he's well on his way’.”

Bowman said Missoula Rural Fire is planning to honor the young man for his heroism with a ceremony in the near future.

“We are going to put out another press release because we want to do something for this kid,” he said. “What he did was pretty incredible so we're going to do something more formal with media with him so he we can have him speak, as well.”

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