Christopher Bernecker helped to rescue Emery G. Welch from burning, Clarkston, Michigan, September 27, 2000. Welch, 76, lay at one end of the hall of his one-story house after fire erupted in the living room, which was just off that end of the hall. A man who had been passing by entered the house through a door in the far end of the hall, found Welch, and dragged him toward the door, but he was repulsed by dense smoke and intense heat and had to return outside for fresh air. Bernecker, 22, construction worker, and a coworker arrived at the scene and entered the house in a rescue attempt, but they too were repulsed by conditions. Bernecker re-entered the house along with the first man who had responded. They crawled through the hall to Welch, then each grasped Welch by an ankle and, dragging him, returned to the door. From there, the other construction worker helped to carry Welch to safety. Welch was hospitalized for treatment of smoke inhalation and internal burns. Bernecker exhibited signs of smoke inhalation, and he recovered.
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