Chester E. Hoyt, Jr., rescued Mary H. Averill from burning, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, December 14, 1997. Ms. Averill, 87, who used a wheelchair, was inside her house after fire erupted in a corner of the living room. A neighbor, Hoyt, 33, an off-duty firefighter, saw smoke issuing from the house and, investigating, discovered the fire. After reporting it, he responded to the front door of the burning house and, despite dense, black smoke and intense heat inside, entered the living room. As visibility was nil, he crawled along one wall, then turned and began to crawl along another in search of Ms. Averill. Bumping into Ms. Averill in the opposite end of the room, Hoyt pulled her to the floor, then dragged her to the front door and outside to safety. Ms. Averill was hospitalized for treatment of smoke inhalation and burns but succumbed to her injuries three days later. Hoyt was treated at the hospital for smoke inhalation, from which he recovered.
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