Jean Melo helped to rescue Nelson Andino from burning, Providence, Rhode Island, December 8, 2000. At night, Nelson, 7, and his brother remained in the kitchen of their family’s first-floor apartment after fire broke out in the living room and spread quickly. Melo, 19, and a friend were driving through the neighborhood and discovered the fire. They stopped at the scene and ran to the rear of the three-story building, where they learned that the boys were inside. The friend entered the burning apartment through its back door, found the boys, and dragged them toward the door before having to retreat because of dripping material from the ceiling. Despite blistering heat, thick smoke that impeded visibility, and advancing flames, Melo then entered the apartment through the back door, grasped Nelson, and removed him from the building. Nelson’s brother was likewise removed by Melo’s friend, who had re-entered the apartment. Both boys were hospitalized for treatment of smoke inhalation and extensive burns, and Melo required hospital treatment for smoke inhalation. He recovered. Five members of a family living in the building’s third-floor apartment died in the fire.
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