Donald Schaus, Sr., rescued Richard J. Fitzgerald from burning, Bedford Hills, New York, February 27, 2014. Fitzgerald, 82, was in his ground-floor apartment after flames erupted in the unit and filled it with dense smoke. Schaus, 52, the apartment facility’s superintendent, was alerted to the fire. Responding to the scene, he attempted to unlock the apartment’s door but was not successful. He then kicked the door in to find that smoke in the apartment severely restricted visibility. After entering the unit but being repulsed by smoke, he yelled inside and heard Fitzgerald groan. Schaus entered the apartment a second time, but crawling, and found Fitzgerald lying on a bed about 10 feet from the door. Schaus pulled Fitzgerald from the bed and started to drag him to the door, but an ottoman blocked his path. Releasing Fitzgerald, he picked up the ottoman and threw it from the apartment. He then returned to Fitzgerald and dragged him outside, where he used snow from the ground to extinguish flames on Fitzgerald’s clothing and body. Fitzgerald was taken to the hospital but died there the next day of his injuries. Schaus also required hospital treatment, for smoke inhalation, and he fully recovered.
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