Kory Kern Kocher helped to save Isa I. Degener from burning, Waialua, Hawaii, August 16, 2014. Degener, 90, was on the second floor of her two-story house after fire broke out on the first floor and sent smoke throughout the structure. Kocher, 37, refuse truck driver, who lived nearby, was alerted to the fire. He responded to the scene, entered the house, and searched the first floor in light smoke for Degener before climbing the stairs to the second floor. Smoke was denser there, limiting Kocher’s visibility and impeding his breathing, but he saw Degener standing a few feet from the top of the stairs. Kocher put her over his shoulder and started to descend the stairs, backward, but he stumbled and fell with Degener to a landing halfway down. Kocher’s wife also had responded to the scene, and she climbed to the landing to help with Degener. Regaining his footing, Kocher dragged Degener down the remaining steps, the base of which was just off the front door. With flames by then advancing quickly toward the door, Kocher and his wife removed Degener from the house. Flames shortly engulfed the wooden structure, destroying it. Both Degener and Kocher required hospital treatment, Kocher for carbon monoxide exposure and smoke inhalation, from which he recovered.
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