Ronald R. Smith saved Yetta Lieberman and attempted to save Margaret Place from suffocation, Hamilton, Ontario, April 23, 1961. When fire broke out in a store and dense smoke filled apartments above it, all occupants escaped except Mrs. Lieberman, 82, and Mrs. Place, 84, who were trapped in the rear apartment as flames completely filled the only stairway and spread into the second-floor hallway. They called for help from a window 12.5 feet above a concrete courtyard between the building and a garage five feet away. The entire first floor was afire as Smith, 29, taxi driver, who had been passing in his taxi, ran to the garage and ascended stairs to its flat roof. He saw Mrs. Lieberman’s hands gripping the window sill, which was five and a half feet above the garage roof. Smith ran to the edge of the roof and leaped upward across the intervening space. He grasped the window sill and then drew himself onto it, in the dense smoke. As he lifted Mrs. Lieberman onto the sill, she gasped that Mrs. Place was in the apartment somewhere. Meanwhile another man had ascended to the garage roof, where he obtained footing on a metal sign which he had placed between the garage and the building. Smith handed Mrs. Lieberman to the man, and he swung her onto the garage roof just before the sign fell. Smith dropped to his knees in the apartment and in the dense smoke crawled toward a red glow at a doorway, probing but failing to locate Mrs. Place. Choking violently from the smoke and nearly overcome by the intense heat, he returned to the window but could get little fresh air because of the smoke. By then flames were issuing from the front apartment. Smith climbed onto the window sill and jumped onto the garage roof. Soon afterward firemen wearing masks entered the rear apartment and found Mrs. Place, but she had suffocated. Mrs. Lieberman was hospitalized for inhalation of smoke. Smith’s hair was singed, and his eyes were badly irritated. Both recovered.
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