Otto G. Stamman saved James S. and Paul R. Guthrie from suffocation, Temple, Texas, January 8, 1958. James, 7, and Paul, 4, were asleep in one bedroom and their mother and baby brother were in another when fire broke out at the opposite end of the one-story brick dwelling. Wakened by dense smoke, which filled the house, the mother lowered the baby out a bathroom window and then, after being prevented by smoke and heat from reaching the other bedroom, climbed through the window herself. She summoned Stamman, 38, electrical contractor, a neighbor, who ran to the dwelling clad only in pajamas. As flames rose above the roof at the opposite end of the dwelling, Stamman tore the screen from a window of the boys’ bedroom, broke out the glass with his fists, and climbed inside. Heat was intense, and the acrid smoke caused him to choke. Flames from the hallway spurted intermittently into the bedroom as much as two feet through the open door. Crouching and holding his breath as best he could, Stamman groped his way through the dense smoke. He moved across the room toward the flames and then alongside a bed, where he found James on the floor in the corner. Stamman carried James to the window, which he barely could distinguish, and handed him through the opening. Although weakened by the heat and choking from the smoke, Stamman retraced his steps to the corner. He then crawled over two beds to the opposite corner, where he located Paul. Carrying Paul, Stamman returned to the window and climbed through it. His hair and face had been singed, and he had sustained cuts on his hands from the broken glass. Firemen extinguished the flames, but the dwelling was a total loss. James, Paul, and Stamman were treated for effects of heat and smoke and recovered.
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Otto G. Stamman, 88, of Temple, Texas, died on April 26, 2008. He was born and lived his entire life in Bell County, Texas, and was a member of the Temple business community. He was an electrician and maintenance supervisor and ran a business.
He was a pilot and served as a squadron commander of the Temple Civil Air Patrol. He served in the 348th Army Combat Battalion in World War II, landing on Omaha Beach on D-Day and participating in the Normandy, Northern France, Ardennes, Rhineland, and Central European campaigns.
His military awards include the American Defense Service Medal, the EAME Campaign Medal with five Bronze Stars and one Bronze Arrowhead, and the French Croix de Guerre. He was awarded a Carnegie Medal in 1961 for a rescue he performed in January 1958.
He was a member of the Temple Churches of Christ.
(Edited from an obituary in the Temple Daily Telegram, May 1, 2008.)