Hazel M. Cromartie saved Melissa and Joseph Gibson from suffocation, San Francisco, California, August 7, 1969. At night fire broke out on the living room sofa in a ground-floor apartment where Melissa, 4, and Joseph, 5, had been left alone. Miss Cromartie, 29, clerk-typist, was attracted and forced open the apartment’s only door. She entered the smoke-filled living room and removed Melissa, who told her that Joseph was in bed. Miss Cromartie re-entered the living room and moved past the burning sofa. Smoke filled the entire apartment, in which no lights were burning. Guided by Joseph’s cries, Miss Cromartie made her way through a hall and, coughing almost constantly, reached the bedroom. Joseph struggled and kicked her but then calmed as Miss Cromartie started back to the living room with him, breathing with difficulty. She twice made wrong turns and briefly entered other rooms. When Miss Cromartie reached the living room she saw that the flames on the sofa had ignited a nearby table. Running past the flames, she emerged from the apartment with Joseph. All recovered from effects of the smoke.
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