On the 22nd of April, 2020, a car travelling along Kahikitea Drive in Hamilton, and carrying three people, hit a large traffic signage pole and caught on fire.
Paul Gerritsen, an ex-firefighter, arrived on the scene just after the impact. He dragged the driver, who was lying unconscious near the driver’s door, away from the vehicle.
When Mr Gerritsen returned to the vehicle, the fire was taking hold of the interior. He used brute strength to extract a woman who was trapped inside, and who had suffered severe, critical injuries.
Emergency services arrived and all three passengers were taken to hospital in a critical condition.
In coming to their aid, Paul Gerritson put his own life in great danger. Without his actions, it is likely that the female passenger would have died, and the driver may too have lost his life.