Two Tri-City men who pulled two young Richland girls out of a burning car in 2009 were honored by the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission this week.
Michael S. Hatfield of Richland and Scott Oak, formerly of West Richland, were given medals by the commission along with 18 other heroes nationwide.
Hatfield saved Alexandra C. Hatley-Flores, 12, from burning, and Oak pulled out Taylor L. Tefft, 11. The accident happened on Interstate 182 near Road 100 in Pasco.
When Hatfield and Oak pulled up at the scene, the girls, injured and unconscious, were still inside the burning car.
Hatfield, a training specialist, approached the driver’s side of the car, leaned in through the rear door, freed Alexandra from her safety belt and pulled her out.
Oak, 34, then an off-duty West Richland police officer, approached the passenger side, leaned through the window of the front door, and pulled Taylor out and carried her to the median.
Alexandra died of her injuries the next day and Taylor died the following day.
Oak, who now lives in Tacoma, also suffered smoke inhalation and burns to his arms.
The Carnegie commission has been giving hero awards to Americans since 1904.