David L. Daughtridge saved Randy B. Williams from burning, Tarboro, North Carolina, November 1, 1963. While Randy, 4, was asleep in a front bedroom of a one-story frame dwelling, his mother attempted to start a fire in a heating stove in the living room by using kerosene. An explosion occurred, the mother dropped the five-gallon can, and burning fuel spread over the floor. The mother ran from the dwelling. Her screams attracted Daughtridge, 38, construction contractor, who ran to the open door of the bedroom next to the one where Randy slept. Dense hot smoke which filled the room to within two feet of the floor enveloped Daughtridge, and he dropped to his knees, coughing violently. Hearing Randy scream, he crawled beneath the smoke and moved six feet into the room, where flames burned over much of the floor. Guided by Randy’s cries, Daughtridge crawled into the adjoining bedroom, at times inhaling smoke and almost suffocating from the hot air. Passing very close to flames on the floor, he reached the bed and attempted to tilt it so that he could reach Randy without rising, but he was unable to do so. He then got to his feet, the smoke almost causing him to lose consciousness, and lifted Randy from the bed. Still coughing, Daughtridge turned and started to leave but walked into the wall. His lungs pained him severely as he groped along the wall and reached a window. Shielding Randy, Daughtridge broke the glass with his arm and shoulder as he lunged through the window to outside, blackened from head to foot. Firemen arrived, but the dwelling burned to the ground. Randy’s younger sister burned to death in the fire. Randy and Daughtridge suffered extensive burns; Daughtridge was disabled for nine weeks. Both recovered.
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