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Special Agent Harold Leonard Hurley, Jr.

U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration

On December 2, 2013, Special Agent Harold Hurley was driving to work on westbound Interstate 40 in Memphis, Tennessee, when he detected flames in the bed of a Ford pickup truck. As Special Agent Hurley got closer, he observed that a fire had engulfed the bed of the truck with the flames rising above the tailgate. Special Agent Hurley immediately activated his emergency lights and siren in an attempt to alert the driver to the fire. He continued to follow the pickup truck while moving from lane to lane in an effort to get the operator’s attention. After approximately 2 miles, the truck finally pulled onto the inside emergency lane and stopped. Special Agent Hurley positioned his vehicle in the emergency lane behind the pickup truck and ran toward the burning truck, pointing toward the fire in an effort to alert the driver to the danger.

The driver finally saw Special Agent Hurley. When the driver observed the fire in the bed of the truck, she started to remove her four children: an 18-month-old, 3-year-old twins, and a 4-year-old. Special Agent Hurley moved past the fire and to the passenger compartment of the truck, and the mother passed her twins to him. Special Agent Hurley quickly secured the twins in his vehicle and ran back to the passenger compartment of the truck where the mother was retrieving her two other children.

Special Agent Hurley assisted her in removing the 18-month-old and 4-year-old from the truck, and they ran back to his vehicle. With the family safely secured, he backed his vehicle away from the truck, which by this time was completely engulfed in flames. Special Agent Hurley removed the family to an area of safety and then called for assistance. Memphis firefighters soon arrived on the scene to extinguish the fire.

The mother later advised Special Agent Hurley that she did not realize her truck was on fire and had only stopped when she saw the blue lights of Special Agent Hurley’s vehicle. It is very likely that had Special Agent Hurley not acted as quickly and unselfishly as he did, members of this family—if not the entire family—would have ultimately been trapped inside the burning truck. It was later determined that the fire started as a result of packed clothing being placed too close to the vertical exhaust pipes in the bed of the truck.

Thanks to Special Agent Hurley's quick thinking and courageous actions, this mother and her children escaped life-threatening injuries.

Press Releases

Three men talking to each other. One man is holding a Badge of Bravery award plaque.
Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) awarded Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent Harold Hurley with a Congressional Badge of Bravery for his efforts saving a woman and her four children from a burning vehicle in Memphis