James K. Hamm helped to rescue Rebecca M. Walmsley and rescued Jade J. Avery from burning, Nemaha, Iowa, August 1, 1997. Rebecca and Jade, both 11, were trapped in the basement of a house after a massive explosion of propane that had leaked in the house. The house was reduced to a pile of rubble that then began to burn quickly. Visiting in the neighborhood, Hamm, 43, farmer, immediately ran to the scene, where he heard screaming. He stepped onto the remains of the house, then made his way across the rubble to find the source of other screaming. Through a hole in the rubble, Hamm saw Rebecca and Jade in the basement, which was burning. He dropped to his knees, reached into the hole, and pulled Rebecca out. Another man who had responded and mounted the rubble took her to safety. Hamm reached through the hole again and pulled Jade to the surface. As flames grew on the rubble, Hamm crossed it with Jade and removed her to safety. Although he was burned, Hamm, a volunteer firefighter, responded to the fire station, then returned to the scene to fight the fire, which had killed two. Rebecca and Jade required hospitalization for serious burns. Hamm was treated at the hospital for second-degree burns to his left arm and neck; he recovered.
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