Robert W. Cathey saved Loris G. Churchill from suffocation, Statesville, North Carolina, August 9, 1961. When fire broke out at night in the sun porch of their one-story brick dwelling, Churchill, 62, merchant, and his wife were awakened and started toward the rear door. The wife made her way to the outside, but Churchill was overcome by smoke and collapsed in the hall adjoining the living room. Cathey, 29, student, ran to the front of the dwelling and forced open the living room door. Hearing groans from inside, he stepped into the room, was forced back by the dense smoke, and then crawled into the dwelling. Because the house was air-conditioned and all windows were tightly sealed, the confined heat was especially intense. Smoke was so dense that Cathey could see and breathe only near the floor. Flames which then rose above the roof of the sun porch had spread into the living room and were within eight feet of Cathey as he crawled across the room to the hall where he located Churchill. Cathey took hold of him and dragged him toward the front door. Once he lost his hold and lurched against a desk which was very hot. Regaining his hold, Cathey continued dragging Churchill, who was inert, a total of 15 feet to the door and thence outside. Others aided in carrying Churchill away from the dwelling, and Cathey revived him. Firemen extinguished the flames. Churchill was hospitalized for smoke inhalation. Both he and Cathey sustained burns but recovered.
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