William Charles Rankin died rescuing Teresa Ann Rankin from burning, Altheimer, Arkansas, November 22, 1946. While William, 16, schoolboy, was standing in the doorway between the living room and a bedroom in his home, an oil stove exploded in the living room, filling it with flames. He went into the bedroom, where his niece, Teresa, 4, was in bed. William’s mother ran out of the house to a window in the bedroom. Black smoke filled the bedroom, and heat was intense. Finding a pane of the window broke, William’s mother groped inside with her arms, grasped her 6-year-old daughter, and pulled her through the opening. Again she reached inside, grasped Teresa, and pulled her out. In each instance she felt the child being lifted from within. Again she reached inside in an effort to aid William but did not touch him. The house burned to the ground. William’s body was found within three feet of the window. Teresa died a day later as the result of her burns.
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