John S. Rasmussen died as a result of rescuing Irvin W. Coates and attempting to rescue Angela J. Coates from burning, Hampton, Virginia, December 13, 1970. When flames broke out and spread rapidly in the first floor of a two-story dwelling where he was asleep in the living room, Coates, 20, electrical maintenance man, suffered burns and was so weakened by the smoke and heat that he could not call for help. His wife sustained a hip injury when she was forced to jump from a second-floor window; but her calls for help attracted Rasmussen, 21, college student. He entered the burning dwelling and soon emerged from it dragging Coates, who was severely burned. On being told that Angela, 4 months, was in an upstairs bedroom, Rasmussen re-entered the dwelling. By that time flames were being swept up the stairway. Minutes later Rasmussen appeared at the window of the front bedroom, in which flames then could be seen. He had suffered extensive burns, and when he jumped from the window he sustained a broken ankle. Firemen arrived and removed Angela from the rear bedroom, to which flames also had spread. Coates recovered, but Angela and Rasmussen succumbed to their burns.
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