Pennsylvania trucker uses fire extinguisher to help save crash victim's life

By Land Line staff | Tuesday, January 19, 2016

A Pennsylvania truck driver is being touted as a lifesaver for his decisive actions following a two-vehicle crash that left one person dead and another seriously injured.

Police in Lancaster County, Pa., say that 26-year-old trucker James Cooper, of Enola, risked his own life to extinguish a fire that started under one of the crashed vehicles, the driver of which remained trapped inside.

The crash occurred at around 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 16, on Route 741 near Pequea Township. Cooper, who drives a fuel tanker for Advantage Tank Lines, came upon the two vehicles which had been involved in a head-on collision moments earlier.

Southern Regional Police Cpl. John Michener said Cooper found one of the drivers – Benjamin Manotti, 38, of Lancaster – trapped in his SUV, which had overturned. A small fire was starting under the vehicle.

“Despite the fact that there was gasoline and other fluids leaking from the vehicles, he ran back to the car and was able to extinguish the fire before any emergency responders arrived at the scene,” Michener said in a phone interview with “Land Line Now.” “The action that Mr. Cooper took most likely saved the life of the surviving driver,” he said.

Firefighters arrived on the scene shortly thereafter and were able to extract Manotti from his SUV, Michener said. The driver of the second vehicle, 33-year-old Gregory Pizarro, was pronounced dead at the scene.

News Anchor Reed Black contributed to this report.

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