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FWC lieutenant earns award for daring rescue

For immediate release: January 21, 2010
Contact: Katie Purcell, 850-459-6585

FWC lieutenant earns award for daring rescue

Lt. Anthony “Tony” Wright of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) received an FWC “Lifesaving with Valor” award Jan. 20 for rescuing a woman trapped inside a burning car. And his daring deed north of Jacksonville was caught on tape.

“I am honored to be recognized for this rescue,” Wright said. “But I was just doing my job. When I realized that someone needed help, it was natural to respond.”
It was nearly 11 p.m. on Nov. 11 and Wright had just returned home after finishing his shift. When his sons heard a loud noise, Wright put his uniform back on to go investigate.

After checking in with FWC dispatch, Wright headed down the road, where he found a vehicle that had struck a power pole and caught fire. Wright requested assistance from the local fire department and sheriff’s office while he exhausted his fire extinguisher trying to smother the flames.

When bystanders informed Wright that no one had exited the car after the crash, he tried to open the doors of the vehicle. When that didn’t work, he grabbed a tire iron, smashing out one of the side windows, then a rear one.

Wright could see the victim through the rear window. She was panicked and appeared to be stuck. With flames further engulfing the car, Wright climbed on top of the car’s trunk. With help from a member of the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office, he was finally able to pull the victim through the rear window to safety.

The victim survived with minor injuries.

“We are extremely proud of Lt. Wright’s heroic actions,” said Col. Jim Brown, director of the FWC’s Division of Law Enforcement. “Our officers are trained to respond to a variety of situations, but this is something that is difficult to anticipate. It truly required quick reflexes, smart decisions and bravery.”

The details of his daring rescue prove just how vital FWC officers are to public safety. Though their shifts may end each day, they are virtually on call 24 hours a day to help people in need.

Footage of the rescue, provided by the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office, has been uploaded to the FWC’s file transfer site. For access, please contact Katie Purcell at 850-459-6585 or Katie.Purcell@MyFWC.com.