Brent L. Petersen helped to save Darla J. and Jeffrey A. Musich and attempted to save Darren M. and Dale J. Musich from suffocation, Harlan, Iowa, April 10, 1967. In a frame dwelling, fire broke out in a closet in a first-floor bedroom where Darla, 3; Jeffrey, 2; and twins Darren and Dale, five months old, were asleep. Their mother and a neighbor woman, who were outside, ran into the house but were unable to get to the bedroom because of the dense smoke and the heat. Brent, 15, schoolboy, and a friend entered the dwelling together. They dropped to their knees beneath the smoke and crawled through the living and dining rooms. Coughing from smoke they had inhaled, they entered the bedroom. Brent, who had with him a small fire extinguisher, directed its stream toward areas of smoke in which there was a glow of flames. They crawled to six feet from the door and found Darla, who was unconscious. Brent’s friend lifted Darla from the floor, and both youths rose to their feet and ran from the dwelling. After getting fresh air, they entered the house again. They crawled to the bedroom, where they then could see that the wall opposite the door was afire and that flames also burned on the ceiling. Heat was intense. Brent again used the fire extinguisher as they crawled to seven feet from the door and found Jeffrey, who was unconscious. Brent’s friend lifted Jeffrey from the floor. The two youths rose to crouching positions and ran outside, where they cleared their lungs of smoke. Brent and then his friend each re-entered the house alone, but conditions were so severe that each was forced to retreat to the outside. Firemen arrived, extinguished the flames, and removed the bodies of Darren and Dale, who had suffocated. Darla and Jeffrey, after being revived at a hospital, recovered fully.
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