Joseph Carroll Hopkins, 39, portrait artist, attempted to save Carroll Francis Hopkins, Jr., 3, from burning, Baltimore, Maryland, November 15, 1958. At night while Carroll was asleep on the third floor of a 25-room dwelling, fire broke out in the ground-floor kitchen. Carroll was left behind as all other occupants left the dwelling. The flames spread rapidly, creating dense smoke. Hopkins, an uncle of Carroll, learned that the child was inside and entered the burning dwelling to get him. Holding his breath, Hopkins hurriedly climbed to the third floor, to which smoke already had ascended by way of the open stair well. All lights in the dwelling had gone out, but Hopkins made his way to Carroll in his crib. As he lifted Carroll into his arms, Hopkins, who suffered from a nasal condition, was forced to expel his breath. He then inhaled smoke and began to cough violently. Carrying Carroll, Hopkins opened a window in the room. He then moved to the bedroom door and saw the reflection of flames from the stair well. Still coughing, he took Carroll back to the crib, where the smoke was less dense, and again went to the window for air, intending to return for Carroll. Meanwhile James Hopkins Berger, an 18-year-old cousin of Carroll, had entered the dwelling to get the child, unaware that Hopkins had preceded him. Berger held a handkerchief over his face and ascended the stairs, the railings of which then were afire. In the bedroom he found Hopkins coughing violently at the window and learned Carroll’s location from him. As Berger took Carroll from the crib, Hopkins, in need of fresh air, climbed through the window onto a narrow sloping roof. He slipped and fell 29 feet to the ground, suffering multiple fractures. Berger, carrying Carroll, moved toward the door of the bedroom but was driven back by the intense heat from flames on the stairway. Berger ran to the window with Carroll, climbed onto the roof, and jumped to the ground. The flames, which reached Carroll’s bedroom and all but two of the other rooms, were brought under control in two hours by firemen, four of whom were hospitalized as a result of smoke conditions. Carroll was not injured when Berger jumped to the ground with him, but he had sustained second degree burns from the heat in the bedroom. He was hospitalized 10 days and later recovered. Hopkins, in addition to injuries sustained in his fall from the roof, suffered burns on his head and one hand from the heat. He underwent extensive hospitalization but still has restricted use of his right arm and hand.
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