Fresno firefighters honored for service

FRESNO, Calif.

More than 80 awards were given out, including 17 Medals of Valor, at a special ceremony at Fresno City Hall.

16-year old Bullard High School junior Shaela Warkentin handed out awards to nearly a dozen of her heroes she credits for saving her life.

"They're pretty much the reason I'm here. If it wasn't for them, I don't know what state I would be in right now," Warkentin said.

Warkentin suffered serious head and facial injuries a year ago when the Ford Mustang she her sister and a friend were riding in was rear-ended by a pickup.

"I don't remember it at all, not even the day. Nothing," she said.

Her head was pinned against the roof and firefighters had to cut her free from the car.

"I just remember how fast they were to respond to the situation and just the urgency in trying to get her out," Shaela's sister Carissa said.

"Pretty technical rescue the way she was trapped in the vehicle. It took a lot of effort of all the members that were on scene," Fresno Fire Engineer Jeffrey Crask said.

Crask was one of the first firefighters to respond to the crash.

"I was with her in the car providing medical treatment while the guys on the outside were performing the duties of cutting the car out from around her," he said.

Crask has worked for Fresno fire for 12 years. He says when Warkentin presented him with an award for his courageous act and thanked him for his dedication and sacrifice it was the "biggest honor of all."

"It's something I will remember for the rest of my life," Crask said. "To see her up and walking around is a miracle because at the time of the incident it looked pretty grave."

"I'm very thankful for them. Very very thankful," Warkentin said.

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