James E. Hresko died after attempting to rescue Edward G. Bender from burning, Rochester, Pennsylvania, December 4, 1999. Bender, 81, was alone in his two-story house after fire broke out in its kitchen, on the first floor. At work in an establishment adjoining the scene, Hresko, 54, bartender, was alerted to the fire by a passerby. He immediately responded to Bender’s front porch, where he attempted to kick in the front door. Unsuccessful, he kicked out a window in the door, then reached inside and unlocked the door. Crouching, Hresko made his way a few feet into the house before being forced back out by thick, black smoke in the living room. Hresko left the porch to find a hose but returned momentarily without one. He entered the house again, disappearing into the smoke. Arriving firefighters found him unconscious on the floor of the living room and removed him from the house. Firefighters also found Bender, in the kitchen, but he had died of smoke inhalation. Hresko was taken to the hospital, where he died the following day, also of smoke inhalation.
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