Brandon Rothrock helped to rescue Mamie T. Gumbs from burning, Forest City, North Carolina, March 19, 2009. In the middle of the night, Gumbs, 80, was in her bedroom after fire erupted in the adjoining living room and grew significantly. A police officer, Rothrock, 25, was driving by when he saw smoke and fire issuing from the residence. He reported the fire and then, opening the living room door, heard Gumbs yelling for help. Widespread flames made entry through the living room impossible. Rothrock and another officer who had responded then gained access to the residence through another door, which opened to a hall leading to Gumbs’s bedroom. Rothrock entered the structure and crawled to the bedroom doorway, where he saw Gumbs lying on the floor. Dense smoke and intense heat were intolerable, forcing him from the building. The other officer then entered the structure and proceeded through the hall, but he too was nearly overcome by conditions and retreated. Entering a second time, Rothrock ran into the bedroom, which was aflame. He grasped Gumbs and pulled her to the bedroom doorway before having to leave again. After the other officer re-entered the structure and pulled Gumbs closer to the door, Rothrock joined him in re-entering again, and they pulled Gumbs outside to safety. Gumbs required hospitalization for treatment of severe burns.
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