James L. Disney saved Jerome Powers, Jr., from burning, Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, November 12, 2001. Jerome, 5, was in his family’s two-story row house after fire broke out in the basement and sent dense smoke upstairs. Police officers, including Disney, 43, were dispatched to the scene, where they learned from Jerome’s family members that he was unaccounted for. After rescue attempts by other officers, Disney entered the burning house. Calling out to Jerome, he crawled through an enclosed porch, then into the smoke-filled living room toward the sound of Jerome’s voice. Having gone about 12 feet to the foot of the stairs to the second floor, Disney saw Jerome on the stairway. He ascended a few steps and grasped Jerome but then fell with him to the living room floor. Holding Jerome, Disney crawled back to the front door, where he handed Jerome to another officer. Disney crawled out of the house. He was treated at the scene and later at the hospital for smoke inhalation, and he recovered. Jerome also required hospital treatment for smoke inhalation.
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James L. Disney, 49, of Aldan, Pa., a recipient of a Carnegie Medal for heroism, died on May 31, 2008, at home. Born in Philadelphia, Disney was a graduate of Interboro High School in Prospect Park, Pa. He became an officer with the Upper Darby Police Department in 1986.
In 2003, Disney was awarded a Carnegie Medal for his Nov. 12, 2001, rescue of 5-year-old Jerome Powers, Jr., from his family’s burning home in Upper Darby.
Disney was a former volunteer with Norwood Fire Co. No. 1. He enjoyed boating, fishing, golfing, hunting, and softball.
(Edited from an obituary in the Daily Times, Primos, Pa., June 3, 2008.)