Joseph J. Granahan rescued Helen Giles from a collapsing building, New York, New York, November 17, 1960. A five story brick tenement, alongside which extensive excavating had been done, began to collapse at night while Mrs. Giles, 83, was asleep in her fourth-floor apartment. After all other tenants had fled from the building, Mrs. Giles was awakened by falling plaster and called for help. Although the structure was creaking loudly and already had begun to pull away from the adjoining building, Granahan, 30, waiter, kicked out the glass panel of the jammed front door and entered the tenement. He shouted warnings at each door along the way as he ascended the stairways in a heavy pall of dust from falling plaster. On the second floor he broke out the glass pane of a closed door that blocked his passage and then climbed through the opening. All lights had gone out in the building by the time Granahan reached the fourth floor, but he found Mrs. Giles in the hall and led her to the stairway. He then picked her up in his arms and carried her down two flights of stairs over rubble, which made his footing hazardous. Larger segments of plaster, some with lath attached, then were falling throughout the trembling building. At the closed door Granahan climbed through the small opening and then lifted Mrs. Giles through. Again carrying her, he moved to the first-floor stairway, which had pulled away from the wall at the top. The stairs were littered with debris, and the dust pall was heavier. With Mrs. Giles in his arms, Granahan moved down the stairs and out of the building. Not more than four minutes later the tenement collapsed completely.
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