Updated: Wednesday, 19 Sep 2012, 3:53 PM MDT
Published : Wednesday, 14 Sep 2011, 7:06 PM MDT
SANTA FE (KRQE) - The New Mexico State Police Medal of Valor is the highest award for bravery, and on Wednesday officials announced it will be presented to two patrolmen who faced fiery danger in going beyond the call of duty.
In a mere 30 seconds, the officers put their lives on the line as they stepped directly into the burning wreckage of two semis to save trapped drivers from certain death.
"The actors are real, and that is real diesel fuel, and that is real fire," Secretary of Public Safety Gorden Eden said. "It is not being controlled by a prop man. This is the reality of the work they do every day."
Patrolman Rodney Bone was first on the scene of the crash near San Jon on July 31.
One semi plowed into the back of another truck, crushing the first truck's cab and trapping two men inside.
"And then I heard the driver screaming to help him get out," Bone said. "He was pinned in the truck, so I went up there and broke the window and tried to get him out."
He got the driver out, but another man also trapped.
That's when Patrolman Christopher Stimpson arrived
"There were flames coming up into the bunk, and he was kicking at the flames with his feet," Stimpson said. "Time frame was very limited. It was probably 30-40 from going in there and getting them out.
"The training that we have is that you don't give up and just keep working at the problem."
This situation was extremely difficult because these types of fires often explode suddenly because of all of the fuel involved. This one burned for hours.
"These officers responded without hesitation without even thinking about their own personal danger," Eden said. "It's very evident there was great personal danger in this."
State Police say the driver pulled out of the burning truck had surgery on an arm and he's doing fine. His driving partner suffered first and second degree burns and is in recovery.
The medals will be presented to Stimpson and Bone at a ceremony in December.