Gabriel Gherle rescued Ricardo B. Monteiro from burning, Sacramento, California, January 18, 2002. Ricardo, 3, was unconscious in a bedroom of his family’s one-story house after fire broke out in the living room. Working in the neighborhood, Gherle, 25, construction worker, saw smoke and responded to the scene, where he learned that Ricardo was still in the burning house. He broke out a window at the front of the house and entered but did not find Ricardo in that smoke-filled room. Exiting through the window, Gherle went to the back of the house, where a neighbor had just removed Ricardo’s sister through a window of the back bedroom. Wetting himself down with a garden hose, Gherle went through the window, finding that bedroom also filled with smoke. He searched the room on his hands and knees and found Ricardo unconscious on the floor. Gherle wet Ricardo down with the hose, then returned to the window with him and climbed out. He handed Ricardo over to arriving rescue personnel. Ricardo was hospitalized eight days for treatment of smoke inhalation, and he recovered. Gherle also inhaled smoke but recovered later that day.
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