A Massachusetts man who saved four people from a fiery crash in West Bridgewater earlier this year on Wednesday received a courage award given annually on September 11.
Ross Dugan was awarded the Madeline Amy Sweeney Award for Civilian Bravery Wednesday during a ceremony at the State House to mark the 18th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks.
Dugan “responded to save the lives of others without regard to his own life,” said Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito. “That is truly heroic.
“He represents people, good people, in our community that stand out to do the right thing.”
The award is named after Madeline Amy Sweeney, an American Airlines flight attendant aboard American Airlines Flight 11, the first of two planes hijacked by terrorists and flown into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center.
Sweeney, of Acton, communicated with the airline’s ground services crew to convey critical information about the hijackers and their actions on the plane that morning.
“I’m incredibly humbled right now, this is a great honor” Dugan said after accepting the award from Sweeny’s daughter.
Dugan, who worked the overnight shift for the MBTA, was driving home from Boston to New Bedford around 6:30 a.m. on February 6 when he saw a four-car crash happen near Exit 16A on Route 24. He says he then saw a Honda Civic burst into flames and his only reaction was to run over and try to help.
"The car went up in flames, I just, I thought, nobody got out so I just ran over there," Dugan told NBC10 Boston at the time.
Dugan says none of the doors would open but he was able to pull open a passenger window, allowing a man to get out. Dugan then got the driver and another passenger out.
Just as the flames became too intense, a second hero came over and started spraying a fire extinguisher into the open window, he says.
It was enough for Dugan to pull out the fourth victim.
Polito said Dugan was burned on his hands and other parts of his body.