POCAHONTAS COUNTY, WV (WVNS) – High school students in Pocahontas County are recognized by the state for helping save the life of a classmate and friend.

West Virginia State Fire Marshal Ken Tyree was at Pocahontas County High School to present West Virginia Life Save Awards to students and staff who helped save the life of a student after a car accident.

“We wanted to come and recognize some individuals for some outstanding work they did to save some lives,” said Tyree.

Students going home on an after-school activity bus heroically stopped to gather water from a local creek in coolers to help put out a flaming car one of their classmates was trapped inside.

Tyree said the award represents the incredible bravery and unselfishness the Pocahontas County High students and staff showed that night.

“It says that they’re great people. That they’ve been raised by great people. That they have it instilled in them to serve their fellow man and be a good neighbor, and it was shown on that day on August 4th,” Tyree said.

24 lifesavers, including the bus driver who pulled over and organized what the State Fire Marshal called “the bucket brigade,” were recognized with the award.

The ceremony was a surprise to all students, including senior Ryan Friel, who joked that he thought somebody was in trouble when all the students were called to a surprise assembly in the gym.

“It was a good surprise! A really good surprise. I thought it was just something going on, somebody did something wrong again,” Friel told 59News.

When Friel and his classmates received the life save award and individual letters of gratitude from Governor Justice, they were surprised but thankful.

“It’s pretty cool,” Friel told 59News. “I didn’t figure I’d ever have that before, and I don’t figure I’ll ever get it again so I’m going to enjoy it!”

But Friel said what really made his actions worth it, was getting to see his classmate and friend arrive safely back home.