Mark Steven Joss rescued Brandon Kepecz from burning, Welland, Ontario, May 22, 1999. Brandon, 2, was in the second-floor hall of his family’s two-story duplex home after fire broke out there and filled the hall with dense smoke. A neighbor, Joss, 36, butcher, saw smoke issuing from the structure and responded to the scene, where he learned of Brandon’s whereabouts. Joss ascended the stairs to the second floor, then stepped over foot-high flames on the carpeting in an attempt to find Brandon. After being nearly overcome by smoke, Joss returned to the first floor. He exited the house, then returned with a garden hose, which he handed to another neighbor who had responded. As that man fought the flames with the hose, Joss again went to the second floor and, feeling his way through the hall, found Brandon on the floor, unconscious. He picked Brandon up, returned to the stairs, and carried him downstairs to safety. Brandon was revived at the scene, then was taken to the hospital, where he was detained for treatment of first- and second-degree burns. Joss also required hospital treatment, for smoke inhalation, and he recovered.
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