David L. Braga saved Michelle Moua from burning, Merced, California, February 18, 2010. Michelle, 1, was in her family’s second-floor apartment after fire broke out in the unit’s bedroom. Her mother escaped the apartment with another child and shouted for help. Braga, 32, window tinter, who lived nearby, was walking near the scene and saw smoke issuing from the building. He responded to the front of the apartment, where he learned that Michelle was inside. Braga kicked open the apartment door and entered, but dense smoke forced him out. He removed his shirt, held it to his face, and entered the apartment again. Moving on his stomach, and aided by the light from his cellular telephone, Braga advanced through the smoke toward the living room, en route passing the bedroom as flames extended through its doorway. Braga followed the sound of Michelle’s voice to find her on a couch in the living room. He grasped and cradled her in his arms and then turned and, on his knees, went back to the apartment door and exited the unit. Braga handed Michelle to her mother. After being assisted down the stairs to the ground, he collapsed. He was given oxygen at the scene and then was taken to the hospital for treatment of smoke inhalation, as was Michelle. They recovered.
82948 – 942482948-9424