Bruce Edward Smoot saved Jeffrey L. and Catherine B. Laudermilk from burning, Front Royal, Virginia, February 5, 2012. Jeffrey, 58, was in a second-floor bedroom of his and his wife’s two-story duplex after flames erupted in that room. Disabled, he attempted to flee the room but collapsed in the doorway. His wife, Catherine, 59, was alerted to the fire by a smoke detector and tried without success to move him. A neighbor, Smoot, 43, saw flames issuing from a second-floor window of the house. He ran to the front door and forced his way into the living room, finding that smoke there severely restricted visibility. Hearing Catherine yelling on the second floor, Smoot ascended the stairs and found Jeffrey in the bedroom doorway. He picked Jeffrey up, started down the stairs with him, and then handed him over to a police officer who was responding. As the officer took Jeffrey outside to safety, Smoot returned to the second floor and, despite having no visibility in the dense smoke, found Catherine in a room opposite the burning one. He picked her up, returned to the stairway, and carried her down to the first floor and outside to safety. Jeffrey required hospitalization for treatment of smoke inhalation, and he recovered. Catherine and Smoot were treated at the scene for minor ill effect, and they too recovered.
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