David S. Parks helped to rescue Andrew F. Sleigh, Jr., and saved Mary G. Sleigh from burning, Weston, West Virginia, July 17, 2005. Sleigh, 75, and his wife, 83, were on the second floor of their house after fire erupted in a bedroom on that floor. Visiting in the neighborhood, Parks, 38, deputy sheriff, saw thick smoke issuing from the residence and immediately responded to it. He entered the house and called out, then, hearing the couple on the second floor, ascended the stairs. Dense smoke on the second floor repelled him, and he retreated below the smoke to breathe. Parks crawled back to the top of the stairs, then through the hall until he brushed against one of Sleigh’s feet. He grasped Sleigh by that foot and dragged him to the top of the stairs. A man who had been driving by also saw smoke, and he too entered the house and proceeded up the stairs. As Parks left to obtain a wet towel from the first floor, the other man dragged Sleigh downstairs. Two other rescuers who had entered the house removed him to safety through the front door. Parks, meanwhile, returned to the second floor and found Ms. Sleigh standing in the smoke in the hall. Taking her by the hand, he guided her downstairs and outside to safety. Sleigh required extensive hospitalization for treatment of severe burns. His wife was hospitalized for smoke inhalation, and she recovered. Parks too suffered effects of smoke inhalation, and he recovered.
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