Ella V. McGee saved Steven T. and C. Michael Carter, Jr., from burning, Bandera, Texas, October 31, 1964. At night fire broke out in the living room of a three-story frame building used as a ranch guest house, where three first-floor bedrooms were occupied by the owner and his wife, three of their grandchildren, and Michael, 3, and Steven, 1, whose parents were away. Mrs. McGee, 55, cook, whose room was on the second floor, was awakened by smoke as the flames spread rapidly downstairs. Aware that other second-floor rooms were occupied by several adults and two boys, Mrs. McGee ran into the hall but was forced back by the smoke. She climbed out a window onto a flat roof and jumped downward onto the concrete top of a cistern six feet below, falling and sustaining a fractured vertebra. She rolled off the cistern onto the ground but was unable to stand fully erect because of her injury. Mrs. McGee awakened others by shouting and made her way to the rear door. She entered the building and, breathing in gasps because of the pain in her back, tried to get to the room containing the telephone but began to choke from the dense acrid smoke and was forced back. Hearing Michael and Steven crying, Mrs. McGee made her way along a hall, probing until she located a passageway to their bedroom. She reached the room and located the two boys. Carrying Steven and leading Michael, Mrs. McGee returned to the hall and emerged from the building, coughing and in acute pain. All other occupants escaped except the two boys on the second floor. Efforts to reach them were blocked by flames, which destroyed the building completely. Mrs. McGee was hospitalized and recovered.
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