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Great Basin National Park ranger awarded Citation of Valor

September 28, 2021 GMT

BAKER, Nev. (AP) — The head of law enforcement at Great Basin National Park is being recognized for his bravery and credited with saving the life of a visitor who was trapped in a burning vehicle.

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland awarded the Citation of Valor to Joshua Vann, a U.S. Park Service ranger at the national park in eastern Nevada near the Utah line.

The department says the park visitor crashed in a parking area of Lehman Caves Center last November. The vehicle caught fire as Vann arrived on scene, entered the vehicle and pulled the visitor to safety just as it exploded.

The department’s statement said that without Vann’s heroic efforts, the crash victim likely would have died.

The fire spread to nearby vegetation and created a dangerous threat to historic fruit orchards in high winds.

Vann also was serving as the fire incident commander, deploying Park Service staff and the local volunteer fire department to gain control of the situation.

The department says if the fire had gotten out of control, it could have burned park structures or houses just outside the park boundary.