Kenneth A. Oedewaldt saved David L. Peterson from burning, Mapleton, Illinois, March 7, 2008. Peterson, 36, lay semiconscious on the floor of a one-story church after fire broke out in the building’s furnace room. A member of the church who was driving nearby, Oedewaldt, 63, retired chemical plant employee, was flagged down and alerted to the fire. Learning that Peterson was inside the wooden structure, Oedewaldt attempted to gain entry through the back door, but it was locked. He then went to the front of the building, opened the door, and shouted for Peterson, who gave a weak response. Oedewaldt entered the smoke-filled church, went to the addition at the rear of the building, where the furnace room was housed, and found Peterson. In the dense smoke, Oedewaldt fumbled with the lock on the back door but was able to open the door. After stepping outside for air, he returned to Peterson, grasped him, and dragged him outside to safety. As they were leaving the church, an explosion in the furnace room spread flames, which grew to engulf the building, destroying it. Both men sustained minor smoke inhalation, and they recovered.
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