Matthew J. Flakowicz saved Kevin and Clifford Beauchard from burning, Suffern, New York, February 8, 1994. Brothers Kevin, 8 months old, and Clifford, 2, were in their family’s two-story apartment after fire erupted on the first floor, in a closet below the stairs to the second floor. Flakowicz, 36, field interviewer, who lived in an adjacent apartment, learned of the fire and responded to the scene. He entered the apartment, where flames had spread from the closet, reaching the bannister of the stairway. Dense, black smoke issued to the second floor, where it precluded visibility. Flakowicz climbed the stairs, then heard the boys crying in one of the bedrooms. Guided only by the sound of their voices, he entered a bedroom where he found Kevin, then Clifford. With both boys in his arms, he retraced his steps to the stairway and then down to the first floor, having to turn from flames on the bannister. Bending under flames that were spreading across the ceiling, Flakowicz left the house with the boys. Both boys were hospitalized for smoke inhalation, and Kevin died 12 days later. Flakowicz also received hospital treatment for smoke inhalation.
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