Jay P. Johansen saved Sandra A. Stephenson from burning, Cranston, Rhode Island, January 4, 2006. Stephenson, 57, was in her apartment on the third floor of a three-story house after fire broke out on the first floor at night and sent dense smoke into the structure. She tried to escape the building but was nearly overcome by smoke on the second floor. Johansen, 35, correctional officer, saw flames issuing from the house while driving nearby. He reported the fire, then responded to the back door of the house, where he learned from other tenants who were fleeing that Stephenson was inside. Johansen entered the building and, hearing Stephenson coughing and screaming that she could not see or breathe, crawled through dense smoke up the nearby stairs to the second floor. Finding Stephenson near the top of the stairs, Johansen told her to put her arms around his neck. She did so, and Johansen took her downstairs and outside to safety. Both were taken to the hospital for treatment of smoke inhalation.
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