Delmar R. Burkholder helped to rescue Alexandria D. Hopper from burning, New Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, October 7, 2004. Alexandria, 8, was in a bedroom in one end of her family’s ranch house when leaking natural gas exploded in the basement in early morning. Much of the structure collapsed, and flames broke out on it and began to spread quickly. A neighbor, Burkholder, 22, contractor, saw the fire while driving by. He stopped at the scene, where he learned from Alexandria’s mother that Alexandria and her sister were still in the structure. Alerting another neighbor who had responded, the men ran to the end of the house containing Alexandria’s bedroom and found the sister sitting just outside the structure, near where a hole had been blown in the bedroom wall. Burkholder took the sister to safety then entered the bedroom through the hole, joining the other neighbor inside. Alexandria was in her bed, trapped there by fallen debris. The men worked to free her by attempting to lift the debris and kick apart the bed, but they were unsuccessful. As flames encroached, including below them in the basement, overhead in the roof structure, and at points in the bedroom, the men with difficulty pulled Alexandria free. They fled the house with her, Burkholder taking her to safety. Flames shortly engulfed the house, which was destroyed. Alexandria and her sister were hospitalized for treatment of their injuries, Alexandria’s including burns to her hands. They recovered.
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