An Arizona man has been given the prestigious Carnegie Hero Medal for those who risk their lives while attempting to save the lives of others.
“A lot of people have called me a hero, or said I’m a hero and I really don’t feel that way,” said Cliff Faraci. “I feel like I did what I needed to do that day to help.”
The medal was given to Faraci for his actions on March 14, 2013, after he attempted to rescue a young girl from a burning car in a multiple-vehicle highway accident.
“As I was heading down the (101) freeway, I noticed a bunch of vehicles swerving in front of me and I saw brake lights and car parts flying through the air,” he said.
“Something told me to stop and help and I was basically the first person to stop.
“I jumped out and ran to the lead vehicle in the accident and ran up to the driver’s door,” Faraci said.
“There was a young girl trapped in the car, she was conscious.”
19-year-old Shelby Dwyer was trapped inside.
“She had blood on her face and I was trying to get her to look at me and I was trying to talk to her,” he said. “I tried to open the car door and it wouldn’t open.”
Faraci said that’s when he noticed the smoke.
He tried to reach his whole body inside to shut off the ignition but the steering column was twisted.
“I tried to reach Shelby, talking to her, trying to get her to look at me — I didn’t want her to be panicking,” he said.
And that’s when the car erupted in flames.
“I was able to pull out with flames up and down my clothes, and patted off the flames,” he said. “And I turned around and that’s when the gas tank exploded and Shelby did not make it out of the car.”
Dwyer died at the scene despite Faraci’s valiant efforts.
Despite second-degree burns he went on to help pull others out of nearby vehicles that were also catching fire.
Faraci maintains he doesn’t feel like a hero, but accepted the medal hoping to encourage others to help those in need.