Raymond J. Knepper rescued Louis A. Michaels from burning, Niles, Ohio, May 20, 2007. Michaels, 43, was inside his one-story house after a natural gas explosion there set fire to the front half of the structure. At his home nearby, Knepper, 53, machine operator, learned of the fire. Responding to the scene, he and others heard Michaels yelling from inside the house and determined his approximate location. Knepper forced open the house’s back door, entered, and, despite intense heat, crawled through dense smoke about 14 feet to the end of a hall. He followed the sound of Michaels’s voice, finding him in a room off the hall. Although flames were then entering the room, Knepper crawled across it to where Michaels was lying on the floor, badly burned, and pulled him to his feet. With both men crouching, Knepper guided Michaels to the hall and then to the back door and outside. Michaels required hospitalization for treatment of his injuries. Knepper sustained minor burns, and he recovered.
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