Michael N. Knieriem rescued Shannon R. and Ryan C. Erickson from burning, Newbury Park, California, October 2, 1987. Shannon, 6, and Ryan, 4, were in adjoining bedrooms of their family’s condominium when fire erupted in Ryan’s room and spread, filling the condominium with smoke. Alerted by the screams of the children’s babysitter, Knieriem, 46, a neighbor, ran to the burning structure and entered. He crawled through dense smoke and intense heat to Shannon’s room, where he found her, then carried her outside to safety. Knieriem re-entered the burning condominium, crawled to Ryan’s room, and located Ryan, who was unconscious. He took Ryan outside and revived him, then passed out from effects of the ordeal. Shannon was hospitalized for smoke inhalation, from which she recovered. Ryan was hospitalized for six weeks for second- and third-degree burns over 45 percent of his body. Knieriem was hospitalized in the intensive care unit for acute smoke inhalation, and he recovered.
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