Leo R. Helsper, 36, airline ticket agent, saved Jeffery L. Gruenewald, 3, from suffocation, Aurora, Colorado, May 8, 1967. Fire broke out in the living room of the basement apartment of a one-story frame dwelling where Jeffery and his younger brother had been left alone while their mother was on an errrand. Helsper was attracted and ran to the dwelling, meeting the returning mother. Dense smoke was issuing from around the basement door. The mother screamed that her babies were inside, and she indicated the bedroom. Helsper kicked in a window. With difficulty because of the window well, he wriggled through the opening, which was 15 inches high. He then lost his hold and fell into the bedroom. One. foot struck a cot, and he was thrown to the floor. There were no flames in the room, but heat was intense and smoke was dense. Experiencing pain, Helsper crawled toward the sound of a child crying and found Jeffery on a bed. Carrying the child, Helsper crawled back to beneath the window, which was nearly seven feet above the floor. He thrust Jeffery out through the opening. Helsper then was forced to inhale smoke. Badly dazed, he climbed out through the window as firemen arrived. They removed Jeffery’s brother from the bedroom. He, Jeffery, and Helsper were hospitalized: the children for smoke inhalation and Helsper for two broken ribs. All recovered.
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