Kenneth James DelaCruz rescued Langan J. and attempted to rescue Jennifer A. Courtney from burning, North Stonington, Connecticut, December 21, 1990. Sisters Langan, 11, and Jennifer, 3, and other family members were trapped in a second-floor bedroom of their family’s house after fire broke out on the first floor and filled the house with dense smoke. A neighbor, DelaCruz, 36, business manager, was alerted to the fire; he went to the scene and scaled a ladder that had been placed against the house at the bedroom window. DelaCruz entered the bedroom through the window and, on his hands and knees, located Langan, who lay unconscious on the floor. He seized Langan, retreated to the window, and climbed through it to the ladder, taking Langan to her mother, who had climbed part way up. DelaCruz then climbed back to the window, entered the house again, and found Jennifer, who was farther into the room. He removed Jennifer in a similar fashion. Again DelaCruz entered the bedroom, but drastically increased smoke and heat thwarted his continued rescue efforts. Langan sustained smoke inhalation and a burn to her back, for which she was hospitalized; she recovered. DelaCruz also required hospital treatment for smoke inhalation, and he too recovered. Jennifer and three other family members who had been in the bedroom succumbed to effects of the fire.
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