When 19-year-old Charlotte Heffelmire, a mere 5’6, 120 pounds, walked out of her home, she noticed smoke and fire coming out of the garage. Running barefoot to the door of the garage she found her father, Eric, struggling under the crushing weight of his pickup truck. Eric had been working on the truck when the jack slipped dropping the huge vehicle on top of him at the same time spilling gasoline. The garage immediately caught fire.
“We had a bunch of propane containers and they were cooking off — just fireballs,” he said.
“I thought they’d be pulling out a dead body later in the evening,” Eric said.
Charlotte lifted the pickup truck and pulled her father out. The tiny Paladin jumped into the driver’s seat and fearing that it would explode gunned the flaming truck sideways on its three remaining wheels away from the home. Charlotte then closed the garage doors to contain the fire, and then got her grandmother and 3-month-old niece out of the house.
She then grabbed a garden hose and began spraying down the house before firefighters arrived.
She suffered burns to her feet and hands and a back injury.
Not only did Charlotte save her father from a horrific and certain death, but her entire family from a dreadful tragedy. Even still, the young woman remains incredibly humble. She was honored with a Citizen Life Saving Award by the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department, but doesn’t think she quite deserves it.
“They almost made me believe that I deserved it, but I still don’t think that I do,” said the Paladin to Fox & Friends.