James E. Thorne saved Jeanne E. Sunderland, from burning, Forestville, Maryland, September 8, 1967. When a Navy jet aircraft crashed into the front of her one-story dwelling, Mrs. Sunderland, 35, ran into a central hallway. Passage to the living room and kitchen, the only two rooms with outside doors, was blocked by smoke and flames. Mrs. Sunderland began screaming. Thorne, 32, fire department mechanic, and other neighbors ran to the dwelling. Smoke issued from the windows of the living room and kitchen, and flames from the aircraft rose above the roof at the front of the house. Leaping onto a doghouse at the rear of the dwelling, Thorne removed the screen from a bedroom window and then climbed into the room, landing on his hands and striking his head on the floor. He got to his feet, but the smoke was so dense that he dropped to his knees. Guided by the screams, Thorne crawled through the bedroom and into the hallway. He found Mrs. Sunderland within three feet of flames spreading on the floor of the hall. Heat was intense. Mrs. Sunderland was hysterical and in a state of shock. Thorne slapped her face and then pulled her after him as he crawled back into the bedroom. Both were coughing from the smoke. Leading Mrs. Sunderland to the bedroom window, Thorne shoved her through the opening to two men standing just outside. Firemen arrived as Thorne climbed out. Neither Mrs. Sunderland nor Thorne sustained burns.
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