Eric Surbito helped to save Alice Benedict from burning, Port Jefferson, New York, January 11, 2009. Benedict, 74, was overcome by smoke on the second floor of the two-story convent where she resided after fire broke out in the chapel, which was at one end of the first floor. As the convent was located on the campus of a hospital, the hospital’s security guards, including Surbito, 28, were alerted. Surbito, who worked part time for the hospital and full time as a firefighter for another municipality, responded to the convent and learned that Benedict was inside. He and another security guard broke through a door at the opposite end of the building. They entered, but dense smoke precluded visibility, and, unable to breathe, they exited for air. Re-entering, the men proceeded to the second story, where they found Benedict on the floor. They took her to the stairway and down to the first floor, where they met arriving firefighters. Removed from the convent, Benedict was taken to the hospital, where she was detained for treatment of smoke inhalation. She fully recovered. Surbito also received hospital treatment for inhaling smoke, and he too recovered.
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