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Austin man receives Carnegie Medal for heroism after IRS plane crash

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An Austin man was honored Wednesday for saving six people from a Northwest Austin office building that was set ablaze two years ago after IRS protester Andrew Joseph Stack III intentionally crashed his single-engine airplane into it.

During a ceremony in Pittsburgh, glass installer Robin DeHaven, 28, received the Carnegie Medal. The medal honors “civilians who risk their lives to an extraordinary degree saving or attempting to save the lives of others.”

On Feb. 18, 2010, DeHaven rescued six co-workers who were trapped on the second floor of a seven-story building that caught fire after suicide pilot Stack flew his plane into it.

Blocked by heavy smoke and fire in a hallway outside their office, the six trapped co-workers went to broken-out windows to get fresh air and to call for help. On his way to a glass-installation job, DeHaven saw the plane’s descent and traced the cloud of smoke to the building.

Once he arrived at the Echelon office complex, DeHaven pulled a 17-foot extension ladder from his truck and propped it against the burning building, near where the trapped workers were standing. He climbed to the second floor, entered the building and cleared glass from a window for an easier exit. DeHaven stepped onto the second-floor ledge, then led the six co-workers down the ladder to safety.

None of the co-workers suffered serious injuries. DeHaven, an Army veteran, recovered from minor cuts and smoke inhalation.

IRS worker Vernon Hunter, who was inside the building, and Stack died. Stack was angry over a longstanding tax dispute with the IRS, which had offices in the building.

On Wednesday, the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission today named 21 recipients of the Carnegie Medal. Four of the honorees died during their rescue attempts.

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