Troy Gower helped to rescue John D. Semple from burning, Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, January 6, 2004. Semple, 49, was trapped in the debris of his house after an explosion of natural gas that had leaked into the structure. Much of the 1.5-story house, including the roof, collapsed into the basement, where Semple lay badly injured and burned, and fire broke out in the debris and spread. A neighbor, Gower, 30, cook, heard the explosion and responded to the scene. Hearing Semple yell for help, he forced open an outside door to the basement, entered, and climbed through debris to reach him, as did another neighbor who responded. Gower and the other man lifted furniture off Semple, freeing him, then carried him through the debris to the door. Able to walk, Semple exited the basement and fled with Gower and the other man. By then, flames had spread to at least the far half of the pile of debris. Semple was hospitalized for treatment of multiple bone fractures and burns to his head and hands. Gower was given oxygen at the scene and treated for a cut, from which he recovered.
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