Christopher S. Leonard saved Christopher J. and died attempting to save Justin L., Jarred M., and Casey L. Chaisson from burning, Montegut, Louisiana, September 30, 2001. Brothers Christopher, 18; Justin, 10; Jarred, 11, and Casey, 13, were in separate bedrooms of their family’s one-story house after fire broke out in the living room late at night. A visiting family friend, Leonard, 26, pipe fitter, was spending the night in Casey’s room, as was another of the brothers. Leonard awoke to the fire, then alerted the other brother and ran to the front door with him, that brother exiting to safety. Forbidding the brother to re-enter the house, Leonard turned and ran through the burning living room to Christopher’s bedroom. He awakened Christopher, alerting him to the fire, then went to Justin’s room, Christopher following. Leonard was last seen taking Justin into Jarred’s room, which, across the hall, adjoined Casey’s room and opened to it. His course blocked by falling debris, Christopher returned to his room and fled the house through a window. Leonard, Justin, Jarred, and Casey all died of effects of the fire; they were found close together in the adjoining bedrooms. Christopher was hospitalized four days for treatment of smoke inhalation, and he sustained minor burns to a leg. He fully recovered.
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