Charlotte Heffelmire is being celebrated as a hero after she lifted a pick-up truck off her dad – and saved her family from a dangerous fire.
Dad Eric was working in the family garage on a GMC pick-up truck when the jack propping up the car slipped and pinned him to the ground, with leaking petrol instantly catching fire.
Fortunately, the 19-year-old high school student from Vienna in Virginia, US, was able to use momentarily incredible strength to free him before propane tanks caught alight.
The pole vaulter, who is just 5ft 6in and weighs around 8st 8lb, ran to the scene barefoot and leapt into action.
Eric Heffelmire told NBC Washington, “We had a bunch of propane containers and they were cooking off – just fireballs.”
Then, after Charlotte arrived, he recalls, “I felt the weight shift, and I said, ‘You almost got it,’ and then it was just UGHHHHHHRRR, and suddenly I’m pulled out.”
Seeing the fire danger, Charlotte quickly drove the truck on its three wheels away from the property and then sprayed the house with a garden hose until firefighters arrived.
Her quick-thinking allowed her grandmother and three-month-old niece to escape the home.
In recognition of the miracle escape on November 28, 2015, Charlotte was presented the Citizen Lifesaving Award by the Fairfax County fire department.
Currently at the US Air Force Academy, she sustained a back injury which has so far kept her from returning, and also burned her feet.
She said, “If I can’t do any of the military branches, then I’ll probably just do intelligence or government work. Right now I’m just healing up and making sure the family is OK.”