James F. Knight saved Margaret Traphagen from burning, Walden, New York, January 29, 1990. Mrs. Traphagen, 87, was in bed on the first floor of her and her husband’s duplex house when fire broke out in the basement of the adjoining unit and filled the building with dense smoke. A neighbor, Knight, 37, fork lift operator, saw smoke issuing from the building and ran to the Traphagens’ front door. He and another neighbor crawled into the house several times but were driven out by the smoke each time. They then went to the back of the house and entered through an enclosed porch but again were repulsed by the smoke. Removing his shirt and placing it partially over his face, Knight re-entered through the back door, made his way through the kitchen, and found Mrs. Traphagen in an adjoining room. He picked her up and carried her to safety. Mrs. Traphagen was hospitalized a week for smoke inhalation, and she recovered. Knight was given oxygen at the scene but also required hospital treatment for smoke inhalation, and he too recovered.
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