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Fairhaven man awarded national hero award for saving 4 men from burning car

Ross Dugan talks with his daughter Brenna after being presented the Madeline "Amy" Sweeney Award For Civilian Bravery during the Annual 9/11 Commemoration Observance at the State House in September. He received a national award for bravery on Monday.
Ross Dugan talks with his daughter Brenna after being presented the Madeline "Amy" Sweeney Award For Civilian Bravery during the Annual 9/11 Commemoration Observance at the State House in September. He received a national award for bravery on Monday.Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff

An MBTA lineman is receiving a national award for heroism after he rescued four men from a burning car on a highway in West Bridgewater in 2019.

Ross Dugan is receiving the Carnegie Medal, the highest honor civilians in the United States and Canada can receive for heroism, and a financial grant from the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission.

The commission announced in a statement last week that Dugan is one of 15 new recipients who “have been named Carnegie heroes for entering into mortal danger to rescue others.”

This is not the first award the 38-year-old Fairhaven resident has received for his actions in West Bridgewater. He was also given the state’s highest award for civilian heroism, the Madeline Amy Sweeney award, late last year.

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Dugan is an electrician from Local 104 and works for the MBTA’s power department. He was on his way home from work when he saw a crash involving multiple vehicles on a highway in West Bridgewater on Feb. 6, 2019.

A 45-year-old driver and his three passengers, ages 27, 36, and 46, were trapped inside a sedan that had been involved in the crash. Dugan quickly ran over to the vehicle to help the four men, breaking open its front passenger window when he couldn’t open the door, the commission said.

Dugan stuck his head and arms through the broken window and pulled the front passenger from the vehicle. As flames began to engulf the back of the car, Dugan helped the sedan’s driver and one of the backseat passengers get out through the same window, the commission said.

He yelled at the last passenger, a 46-year-old man who was still inside, to move up to the front seat as another man discharged a fire extinguisher to put out the blaze. Dugan, with burns on his hands and face, pulled the fourth man out of the sedan with help from the other good Samaritan, the commission said.

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Dugan was treated at the hospital and recovered from his injuries. He is now one of 10,168 heroes to receive the Carnegie Medal since it was first awarded in 1904.


Martin finucane can be reached at martin.finucane@globe.com