Richard F. Fassio, 24, laborer, saved Michael B., 4, Brad D., 5, and Susan R. Strazzer, 2, from suffocation, Leechburg, Pennsylvania, May 7, 1967. In early morning when an explosion occurred in an oil furnace in a one-story frame dwelling, flash flames issuing from the registers ignited furnishings, and plastic tile in the bathroom gave off dense acrid smoke. Michael, Brad, Susan, and their parents were awakened, all except Susan sustaining burns. The mother broke a bedroom window, climbed out, and sought help from neighbors. Fassio and others ran to the dwelling, which was tightly sealed by storm doors and windows. Meanwhile the father and the three children had been overcome by the dense smoke, which filled the dwelling and had smothered all flames except those on the rug in the dining room. Two men who had broken a window in the boys’ bedroom boosted Fassio into the dwelling. Heat was intense. Fassio found Michael on the floor of the bedroom., carried him to the window, and handed him to the men. Choking from the smoke, Fassio briefly thrust his head outside for air. In the dense smoke he then located Brad in the hall and afterwards found Susan on the floor of her bedroom. Fassio carried each back to the men outside the broken window. After taking in fresh air, he returned to the hall and was met by the fire chief, who had extinguished the flames in the dining room. Fassio, choking from the smoke, then left the dwelling. Firemen removed the father, who was severely burned and died a few hours later. The children were revived. Michael, Brad, and their mother recovered from their burns.
49680 – 533949680-5339