Charles J. Dechon, Jr., 31, patrolman, saved Edward Wandelt, 75, bartender, from suffocation, Brooklyn, New York, March 28, 1959. At night fire broke out in the first floor dining room of a three-story hotel, where Wandelt was asleep in his room on the third floor. The hotel operator and his wife were awakened by the smoke and, after telephoning firemen, roused Wandelt and the other ten persons in the hotel. All left the building except Wandelt and a married couple, who also were on the third floor. Dechon was attracted while standing on a nearby subway platform, turned in a fire alarm, and entered the building. Coughing from the dense smoke, he ascended a stairway to the second floor, where he found a metal fire door had been closed between the lobby and the sleeping rooms. Able to breathe only near the floor, Dechon crouched and continued to the third floor, where he found Wandelt in the hallway, badly dazed. Dechon led Wandelt down two flights of stairs and out of the building. Fearing that others might still be inside, he reentered the hotel and again ascended to the second floor. He met the other man and his wife, who told him they were all right and then left the building. Dechon continued to the third floor, where the smoke was much worse. He crouched very low as he moved along the hallway, knocking on several doors and shouting. Hearing the fire trucks arrive, Dechon got to his hands and knees and crept to the top of the stairs, where the smoke was so dense that he lay on the floor. So dazed by the smoke that he was unable to rise, he dragged himself headfirst down the stairs to the second floor. A fireman then removed him from the building with the aid of another man. Both Dechon and Wandelt were hospitalized for smoke poisoning and recovered.
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