Joel V. Quintanilla attempted to save Matthew P. Hansen from suffocation, Austin, Texas, February 6, 1983. Hansen, 23, was in a bedroom of a second-floor apartment in the east wing of the Texas state capitol when fire broke out in the apartment, trapping him. Quintanilla, 56, security policeman, searched the apartment for occupants but was forced out by heat and smoke. Twice more he attempted to enter the apartment; on the second attempt, hearing Hansen’s cries for help, Quintanilla kicked in an apartment door and was knocked down by an explosive rush of flame and heat. Hansen died in the apartment of smoke inhalation. Quintanilla was hospitalized for two weeks for first- and second-degree burns on his face and for severe smoke inhalation. It was felt that the lung damage he sustained during the fire contributed to a heart attack that took his life a year later.
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