Peter W. Michalko rescued Howard Hitchcock from burning, Elmira, New York, December 5, 1999. At night, Hitchcock, 90, was inside his home after fire erupted in the living room and filled the house with dense smoke. Michalko, 34, on-duty police officer, responded to the scene and learned from neighbors that Hitchcock remained inside the burning house. Finding the front door locked, Michalko responded to the back door, which opened to a small foyer. He entered the house at least twice but was repelled each time by smoke. Holding a wet towel to his face, Michalko re-entered again. Despite smoke limiting his vision, Michalko crossed the kitchen to where he found Hitchcock, unconscious, on the floor. Michalko dragged Hitchcock to the door leading to the foyer, but then he bumped into the door, causing it to close. Michalko felt for the doorknob, re-opened the door, and pulled Hitchcock into the foyer, from which point he received help in removing Hitchcock to the outside. Hitchcock was severely burned; he was hospitalized but died 20 days later. Michalko was treated at the hospital for smoke inhalation, and he recovered.
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