Dustin Daniel Lara helped to rescue Margaret M. and helped attempt to rescue Wilber E. Proud from burning, Brea, California, April 8, 2000. Mrs. Proud, 89, and her husband, 95, were in their one-story house after fire broke out in their bedroom before dawn. From his home across the street, Dustin, 17, high school student, saw flames in a window of the Prouds’ house and immediately ran to the scene, reporting the fire by telephone as he did so. Joined shortly by his father, Dustin kicked in the locked front door. He and his father then entered the burning house, despite intense heat inside and dense smoke that restricted visibility. After crawling a short distance into the living room, Dustin had difficulty breathing. He returned home for a wet towel, which he and his father then used to aid their breathing, then he left the house again, for a flashlight, and re-entered again and rejoined his father. Dustin’s father had found Mrs. Proud lying on the floor in the doorway leading from the living room to a hall and the burning bedroom. He secured a hold of Mrs. Proud, then inched his way back to the front door, pulling her. After Mrs. Proud was removed from the house, Dustin and his father returned inside for Proud. Of the understanding that Proud was in the bathroom, Dustin crawled to the hall, and, with flames advancing from the bedroom, made his way to the bathroom, but Proud was not there. Dustin crawled to his father in the living room and in deteriorating conditions exited the house as firefighters were arriving. Firefighters found Proud in the opposite end of the house. He and Mrs. Proud were hospitalized for treatment of smoke inhalation; Mrs. Proud recovered, but Proud died of complications 10 days later. Dustin had difficulty that day clearing his lungs of smoke. He recovered.
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