Tahir M. Alkenani saved Kenneth DeVante, Jr., from burning, Lincoln, Nebraska, February 21, 2000. Kenneth, 3, was in the living room of a second-floor apartment after fire erupted in the adjoining bedroom late at night and filled the living room with dense smoke. Asleep in an apartment of a nearby building, Alkenani, 30, laborer, was alerted to the fire, and he responded to the scene clad in only night clothes. Alkenani climbed to the second-floor entrance of the burning apartment and entered the living room. Because of the smoke, which precluded visibility, he lay on the floor and crawled, groping for a couch on which he had been told Kenneth was sleeping. Alkenani found the couch, then felt Kenneth, who was lying nearby on the floor, unconscious. Alkenani picked Kenneth up and ran from the apartment, then outside to safety. He returned to the burning apartment for Kenneth’s sister, but the smoke drove him out. A police officer arrived, and she and Alkenani then attempted a search of the apartment, but they too were unsuccessful in the smoke. Firefighters arrived shortly and found the sister, who died later that day of smoke inhalation. Kenneth was hospitalized for smoke inhalation.
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