Rick A. Alvarado rescued Laura E. Hamm from burning, Holland, Michigan, August 11, 1999. Laura, 14, and three young male cousins were in a ground-level apartment after fire broke out in the unit’s living room. Alvarado, 42, maintenance supervisor for the apartment complex, responded to the apartment after seeing smoke issuing from it. Hearing the boys crying inside one of the bedrooms, he broke out the bedroom window, reached inside, and removed the boys to safety. Learning from the boys that Laura was still inside the apartment and assuming that she might be in the other bedroom, Alvarado went to the window of that room and broke it out. He shouted Laura’s name and heard her crying, then climbed into the smoke-filled room and, crouching, searched for her, having to return to the window repeatedly for air. Alvarado found Laura on the floor near the bedroom door, then, backing, dragged her to the window and removed her through it to safety. Laura required hospitalization for treatment of extensive burns. Alvarado was treated at a hospital later that day for minor smoke inhalation, from which he recovered.
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