Douglas L. Hipple attempted to save Donna Cassidy, Sheree J. Egry, and Melissa S. Watson from burning, Warren, Ohio, April 28, 2009. Before dawn, Cassidy and Egry, both 52, and Watson, 44, were in bedrooms on the second floor of the two-story group home where they lived after fire erupted on the structure’s front porch. On duty in the vicinity, Hipple, 38, police officer, was alerted to the fire. He responded to the scene and entered the house through its front door, the women’s caregiver informing him that they were upstairs. Hipple climbed the stairs to the second floor, but heavy smoke repelled him and he retreated briefly. Returning to the second floor, where visibility was severely limited, Hipple yelled to the women, gathering them at the top of the stairs. With rapidly deteriorating conditions proving too formidable, Hipple decided to attempt their escape through a bedroom window. He, Cassidy, and Egry were overcome by smoke in one of the bedrooms, and Watson was overcome in an adjoining one. They were removed by firefighters who arrived shortly and were taken to the hospital. Watson later succumbed to effects of smoke inhalation. Cassidy, Egry, and Hipple survived smoke inhalation and burns up to third-degree, Hipple’s burns covering 14 percent of his body. He was disabled for more than a year.
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