Guadalupe Moreno rescued Ashley N. Smaldino from burning, Manhattan Beach, California, December 27, 1990. Ashley, 1, was in a bedroom on the second floor of her family’s two-story house when the live Christmas tree in the living room on the first floor caught fire. Her babysitter, Mrs. Moreno, 40, discovered the fire. As Ashley’s mother, also on the second floor, telephoned for help, Mrs. Moreno ran upstairs and went to Ashley’s room. She removed Ashley from her crib and attempted to go back to the stairs, but dense smoke which had penetrated the second floor forced her back into the bedroom. There, she obtained a blanket with which she covered Ashley, then, carrying her, she again made her way toward the stairs. Unable to see because of the smoke, Mrs. Moreno stumbled and fell twice as she descended the stairs. Conditions on the first floor had deteriorated rapidly, disorienting Mrs. Moreno, who could not immediately locate the nearby front door to the house. After groping for it, she exited the house with Ashley. Ashley was hospitalized more than two weeks for treatment of second- and third-degree burns. Mrs. Moreno was hospitalized 10 days for treatment of severe smoke inhalation and deep second-degree burns to her scalp, forearms, and hands.
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