Johnathan Hunter rescued Steven W. Rutland from burning, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, March 26, 2001. Rutland, 47, was trapped inside a room of a building that housed an engine repair shop after fire broke out in the shop and, fueled by gasoline, grew quickly. Adjacent to the shop and opening into it, the room had a door to the outside, but the door was secured by a deadbolt. Driving by, Hunter, 29, heavy equipment operator, saw smoke and flames issuing from the building and stopped at the scene, where he learned that Rutland was still inside. Requiring two attempts, Hunter broke down the door to the room, then entered; dense smoke extending to the floor almost precluded visibility, and heat was blistering. Hunter shouted for Rutland and could hear him coughing. He proceeded to Rutland, then, after being momentarily disoriented, walked him to the door and took him outside to safety. Rutland was hospitalized for treatment, including surgery, of smoke inhalation and burns to his lungs. Hunter was treated at the hospital for first- and second-degree burns to his hands and a bruised shoulder, and he recovered.
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