David E. Crocker rescued Debra A. Wells from burning, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, January 20, 1997. Ms. Wells, 42, was inside her family’s third- floor apartment after fire erupted in the living room. Fleeing the building himself, a tenant, Crocker, 46, heard screaming from the burning apartment, then learned that Ms. Wells remained inside. With visibility hampered seriously by dense black smoke, Crocker crawled into the apartment. He called to Ms. Wells, then proceeded toward the sound of her voice. Finding her on the floor in the living room, Crocker grasped her by the hands and pulled her to the door, then into the hall and to a stairwell, where others took her to safety. Crocker returned to the apartment, but by then conditions had worsened. Fearing to go through the smoke to get back to the stairwell, he returned to his own apartment and sought refuge on the balcony, from which he was rescued by firefighters. Ms. Wells required hospitalization for treatment of smoke inhalation and severe burns.
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