Dover man who saved burning teen receives Lifesaving Award

DOVER — When Lawrence “Larry” Normile noticed that 16-year-old Jason Rogers had caught on fire during some yard work, he leap into action and helped to smother out the flame with his own body and quickly get the young man medical attention.

After assessing the incident, Kent County emergency staff determined that Mr. Normile’s actions may have saved Jason’s life.
The Kent County Levy Court recognized Mr. Normile on Tuesday with The Lifesaving Award.

According to Kent County Director of Public Safety, Colin Faulkner, Mr. Normile — a 46-year-old from Dover, had been removing trees and brush at a property in Smyrna on July 7 with the help of his son Issac and Jason.

After creating a pile of debris and “watering the perimeter,” an “accelerant” was used to burn down stumps and yard waste, explained Mr. Faulkner. During ignition, fire “back flashed” onto Jason.
Rushing to his aid, Mr. Normile first tried to get Jason to “stop, drop and roll” to put out the flames, said Mr. Faulkner, but it was not effective. At that point, he leapt onto Jason and “smothered” the flames and rolled him — eventually putting the fire out.

He then got Jason to a shower to relieve pain from the burns and transported him to Bayhealth’s Emergency Department in Smyrna. Mr. Normile himself was treated for burns to his arm, face and shoulder. Jason was transferred to Crozer Chester Burn Center where he was treated for first, second and third degree burns. He has since been released, noted Mr. Faulkner.

“Clearly, without Mr. Normile’s quick reaction this unfortunate event could have been catastrophic for Jason,” said Mr. Faulkner. “Mr. Normile responded appropriately by extinguishing the fire with obvious risk to self, took remedial actions to cool the burns and quickly transported Jason to the Emergency Department. Mismanagement could have resulted in inhalation burns as well as a worsened outcome for Jason. Mr. Normile exemplified courage in an appropriate and expeditious manner with little regard to self.”

Mr. Normile received the award in a ceremony on Tuesday night.
The Lifesaving Award, brought into existence earlier this year by county commissioners, recognizes a person performing an “individual act of valor” in Kent County boundaries — either a resident or visitor.

People recommended for the award must have saved or attempted to save the life of another person under extraordinary circumstances. Since the award can be given posthumously, it can also be award to those who gave their lives saving another.

To nominate someone for the Kent County Lifesaving award, submit a description of the incident to Chief Faulkner at or by calling (302) 735-2200. Recommendations will be subject to approval and verification by county staff.

Staff writer Ian Gronau can be reached at 741-8272 or

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