Brian David Birk rescued Marcus J. Ware from burning, Azusa, California, January 11, 1998. Marcus, 4, remained in his family’s two-story townhouse condominium after fire broke out on the first floor, in the living room. Birk, 26, manager, who lived across the street, saw the flames and immediately ran to the scene, where he learned that Marcus was still inside the unit. Birk opened the front door of the condominium and, barefoot, stepped inside the living room to blistering heat and smoke that limited visibility. He called out, then heard Marcus to the side. Crouched, Birk approached the stairs to the second floor, having to pass a burning couch, then ascended to a landing, where he found Marcus. He picked Marcus up and placed him over his shoulder, then turned, retraced his path to the front door, and exited the house to safety. Marcus required lengthy hospitalization for treatment of severe burns. Birk also required hospital treatment for burns, to a hand and foot, and he sustained lacerations to his feet. He recovered.
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