Ezra Kidder saved Dakota L. Alley from burning, Otis, Maine, July 13, 2001. Dakota, 5 months old, was in a crib in a bedroom of his family’s mobile home after fire broke out in the kitchen and filled the structure with smoke. In the opposite end of the mobile home, Dakota’s mother discovered the fire and fled through a nearby door with two other children. Unable to reach Dakota through the dense smoke, she alerted a neighbor, Kidder, 25, tile installer. Barefoot, Kidder immediately responded to the burning mobile home and entered it through the same door, but he was quickly repulsed by the smoke and retreated to the outside. He entered again and, proceeding through a hall toward the fire, followed the sound of Dakota’s crying to get to his bedroom. In the increasing heat and smoke that severely restricted visibility, Kidder found Dakota’s crib. He grasped Dakota, held him low, then ran back through the hall to the door and exited the mobile home to safety. He handed Dakota to a neighbor, then fell to the ground to catch his breath, but he injured his knee in doing so. Dakota was examined by paramedics but was not injured. The trailer was destroyed by the fire.
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