Herbert J. Hammond, Jr., 37, department store section head, saved Philbert P. and Mark B. Choneska, 4 and 3, respectively, from burning, Mescalero, New Mexico, January 1, 1958. On the Mescalero Apache Indian Reservation spilled kerosene caught fire in a one-room frame dwelling in which Philbert and Mark remained after their two brothers, aged 7 and 8, became frightened and fled. Noticing smoke, Hammond stopped his automobile, learned that there were children inside, and entered the dwelling. Smoke almost filled the room, at one side of which rapidly-spreading flames burned on the floor, the wall, and the roof supports. Hammond found Philbert in the middle of the room and quickly carried him from the dwelling. Flames then were issuing from above the door, and heat was intense. Holding his breath and crouching beneath the flames overhead, Hammond re-entered the dwelling. He groped about in the dense smoke and located Mark on a bed. Hot tar dripped from the roof onto Hammond’s hands as he freed Mark’s foot, which was wedged between the bed and the wall. Carrying Mark, Hammond ran to the door, his head within two inches of the flames, and left the dwelling as the roof supports started to fall. Two minutes later the roof began to collapse, and the room was filled by an explosive spread of flames, which completely destroyed the dwelling. Philbert and Mark sustained no burns. Hammond suffered hand burns which healed in two weeks.
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