A MAN who put his life on the line to pull a woman from a burning car on the A34 has been honoured with a top award.

Thirty-year-old Alex Marshman said he acted instinctively last November when faced with the crash near Milton.

Leading firefighters said it was his selfless actions that saved the woman's life, as minutes later her car burst into flames.

This week, Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service presented Mr Marshman with its top award - the Chief Fire Officer's Commendation - for his bravery.

After the ceremony, in Kidlington, he said he had been humbled by the recognition.

Mr Marshman, from Gosport, Hampshire, was travelling to Nottingham on the northbound A34 near Milton during the evening rush hour when the four-car crash happened in front of him.

He said: "There were flames coming from under the bonnet of her car and I ran down to it.

"I pulled the door open and she was moving but she couldn't get out of the car she was so shaken up.

"I got her seatbelt off and took her back to my vehicle, put her in the passenger seat, and turned the heaters on.

Minutes later the woman's car was engulfed by flames.

Mr Marshman said: "All I was thinking was 'there's been an accident I need to check everyone's OK'.

"It was an instinctive reaction.

"People always say what would you do in that situation but you can never predict how you will react. I am glad I reacted how I did."

He said he was happy and humbled to get the unexpected honour from Oxfordshire's firefighters.

He added: "I did it as a one off, the real heroes are the firefighters who do it everyday."

Station manger Paul Waknell was in charge of the incident and recommended Mr Marshman for the award.

He said as he approached the scene and saw the car on fire he feared the worse.

He said: "I was convinced it wasn't a normal job, that it was going to be a fatality.

"He saved her life without a shadow of a doubt. We cannot repay him and she cannot repay him. He put his life at risk to save hers."

At the awards ceremony on Thursday night the following fire service staff were given long service and good conduct medals: Nigel Matthews, Paul Molloy, Peter Dobbin, Julian Green, Richard Miles, Lee Bransby and Doug Minter.

Twenty year service medals were awarded to Christine Barefield and Susan Winter.

Michael Matthews won Fire Cadet of the Year and Blake Hallam received the award for Most Improved Cadet. Nigel Wilson won an Achievement Award.

Retained stations at Charlbury, Hook Norton, Wantage, Watlington, Wheatley and Witney, were commended for 100 per cent availability and Wheatley won retained station of the year.