Matthew L. Tranel helped to save Harvey L. Untiedt from burning, Maquoketa, Iowa, December 14, 2014. Untiedt, 48, who was confined to a wheelchair, was in his one-story house when fire broke out in the living room near the live Christmas tree. Blocked by deteriorating conditions from exiting the house by way of the accessible front door, Untiedt attempted to move toward a side door. A wheel that then malfunctioned on the chair stranded him between the living room and the kitchen as flames spread in the living room and smoke filled the house. Tranel, 39, loan officer, was en route to the fire station in response to the call as a volunteer firefighter when he came upon the scene. With flames visible to him through the living room window, Tranel went to the front door but found it locked. He responded to the enclosed side porch and forced entry, and then he broke open the door leading to the kitchen. Another man had arrived by then, and both he and Tranel entered the house, going to the floor in the dense smoke. With little visibility, they crawled across the kitchen and found Untiedt. Then discovering that the wheelchair was immobile, they turned it around and maneuvered it through the kitchen to the side door. Others who had responded helped to remove Untiedt from the porch and to safety. Untiedt was taken to the hospital for treatment of smoke inhalation.
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