The family of Carnegie Hero Fred Alsman, who saved a 1- and 2 year-old from their burning home in 1967, will place a Carnegie Hero grave marker on his headstone this spring. Anna Hayes, granddaughter to Alsman, requested the grave marker from the Hero Fund in 2021.
Alsman saved Lonnie and Larry Bedwell from suffocation in Dugger, Indiana, on April 10, 1967. The children were asleep in their bedroom in a one-story frame home, when their mother, who was outside doing farm chores, saw smoke and flames in the kitchen. With flames blocking her access to the kitchen, she went to the home’s front door and crawled into the living room. Deteriorating conditions inside the home forced her to retreat. She then ran to a point beneath the boys’ bedroom window, but its sill was 6 feet from the ground, and she could not reach it. Hysterical, she screamed for help.
Alsman, a 35-year-old jig and fixture hand at the time, lived nearby and responded with his wife. Standing on his wife’s shoulders, he climbed to the windowsill, where he knocked out a pane of glass, and entered the bedroom. Avoiding the smoke, he crawled on the floor to the bed, where he found a non-responsive Lonnie. He carried him to his wife at the window before crawling back to the bed to search for Larry. By this time, flames had spread to the adjoining room. The smoke and heat had increased, and Alsman coughed. It was at this point, he told Hero Fund investigator Edward F. Bracken, he first feared for his life. Nevertheless, he continued to search. He felt under the bed and then, turning toward the door, saw him lying behind the half-open door to the bedroom. He crawled to within 3 feet of flames outside the bedroom door and took hold of Larry, who also was unconscious. Taking Larry to the window, Alsman handed him through the opening and then climbed out. After a couple breaths of fresh air, Alsman alternated giving each boy rescue breaths, until they were revived. By the time firefighters arrived five minutes later, both Lonnie and Larry were revived. They were taken to a hospital, where they were treated for smoke inhalation and recovered after three days.
Fred Alsman was a Navy veteran, farmer, and member of the Fellowship Baptist Church in Linton and Dugger American Legion. He was 72-years-old when he passed away on February 6, 2005.
At the time of his death, he was survived by his wife Rosemary Robert Alsman, four sons, Floyd Alsman and wife Mary, Dennis Alsman and wife Cheryl, Tony Alsman, and Mike Alsman; daughter Terry Bishop and husband Paul; eight grandchildren; two step-grandchildren; and four step great grandchildren. His wife, Rosemary Alsman, died in 2020 at the age of 83.
Gravemarkers can be requested from the Hero Fund website.