Jose Valerio Flores saved a child from burning, Lompoc, California, November 17, 2002. Marissa Vargas, 3, and her brother Jullian, 1, were in their family’s house after fire broke out in the laundry room at night and filled the one-story structure with dense smoke. Visiting a neighbor, Flores, 21, cabinet installer, saw smoke issuing from the burning house. He attempted to open its front door but found it locked. Awakened to the fire, the five other members of Marissa’s and Jullian’s family fled the house through the front door. Realizing that not all of the children were accounted for, Flores and the children’s father entered the house, where dense smoke precluded visibility except at floor level. Flores crawled into the living room, where he saw one of the children about 10 feet from the door. He reached the child, grasped it, then stood and, carrying the child, returned to the door and outside to safety. The children’s father saved the other child. Marissa, Jullian, and the rest of their family required hospital treatment for smoke inhalation. Flores was given oxygen at the scene then was taken to the hospital, where he too was treated for smoke inhalation. He recovered.
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