John M. Curley, Sr., rescued Evelyn Ross from burning, Bellmore, New York, November 12, 2012. Ross, 92, was in her bedroom, which was on the main floor of her raised-ranch house, after fire broke out in the living quarters and spread. Blocked by flames from reaching her inside the house, her son ran to a point outside her bedroom window, the base of which was about 12 feet off the driveway. To reach the window, he placed a six-foot-high stepladder atop a five-foot-high metal cabinet that he moved from the garage, but, without help, he was unable to scale the cabinet and ladder. Off duty, Curley, 43, a professional firefighter for another municipality, was alerted to the fire by the local fire department, of which he was a volunteer member. Responding directly to the scene without protective gear, equipment, or backup, he climbed atop the cabinet and ladder, the top of which fell just short of the window. He broke out the window glass, allowing some of the smoke to clear, and saw Ross lying unconscious on the floor. He climbed through the window, crawled about five feet to her, and lifted her to the window, flames by then breaching the room through its doorway. After extending Ross partially through the window, Curley climbed out, positioned himself on the ladder, and removed Ross the rest of the way. He descended the ladder with her, passing her down to other responders who had arrived by then, and then jumped from the cabinet to safety. Flames shortly filled the bedroom and ultimately destroyed the house. Ross was hospitalized for treatment of her injuries, which included smoke inhalation and minor burns. Curley also received hospital treatment, for minor burns and a laceration. He recovered.
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