Nathan R. Simpson attempted to rescue Tashawn R. Okoye from burning, Medina, Ohio, October 26, 2009. Tashawn, 7, was in his bedroom on the second floor of a two-story duplex after fire broke out at night in a hall closet adjoining that room. Other family members fled the apartment as flames and smoke spread rapidly, blocking its exits. Responding police officers included Simpson, 34. He climbed a ladder that was placed against the building at Tashawn’s bedroom window and broke out the glass. He started to enter the bedroom through the window but was nearly overwhelmed by dense smoke. After retreating for air, he held a shirt to his face, climbed through the window, and crawled through blistering heat toward Tashawn’s bed. Reaching it, Simpson pulled Tashawn to the floor and dragged him to the window, where he handed him outside to another man on the ladder. Nearly overcome, Simpson climbed out the window and descended to safety, aided by others. Tashawn could not be revived, as he had died of smoke inhalation. Simpson required hospital treatment for burns, up to second degree, to his hands; smoke inhalation; and lacerations, which required suturing. He missed two weeks’ work and fully recovered.
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