Gerald F. Dufelmeier, 30, lumber company manager, saved Mary Schertz, 90, from burning, Morton, Illinois, July 11, 1966. When accumulated natural gas exploded in the basement of a two-story frame dwelling, flames broke out in the living room and quickly burned through the adjoining wall of a first-floor bedroom occupied by Mrs. Schertz, who was bedfast. A nurse removed Mrs. Schertz from her bed and took her close to a doorway leading to the kitchen. The flames then forced the nurse to leave the dwelling. Dufelmeier was attracted by the smoke, ran to the rear of the house, and learned from the nurse that Mrs. Schertz was inside. He entered the kitchen, where heat was intense and smoke extended to within a foot of the floor. There were flames on the walls and ceiling. Dufelmeier saw Mrs. Schertz lying unconscious inside the bedroom doorway. He dropped to his knees, held his breath, and crawled to her. Flames extended three feet from the wall of the bedroom. Within a foot of flames on the floor Dufelmeier took hold of Mrs. Schertz and dragged her through the kitchen to the porch door as a minor explosion occurred in the house. Dufelmeier was forced to breathe and inhaled some smoke. He lifted Mrs. Schertz and carried her from the porch. Dufelmeier then ran back to the porch steps, picked up the infirm husband of Mrs. Schertz, and carried him a safe distance away. Firemen arrived, but the dwelling burned to the ground.
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