William Dean Reckner rescued Natascha L. Gemas from burning, New Salem, Pennsylvania, December 14, 1995. Natascha, 2, was in a crib in a second- floor bedroom of her parents’ home after fire broke out in that room. Approaching the scene, Reckner, 45, bus driver, saw smoke and flames issuing from one of the bedroom’s windows. He entered the house after learning that a child was inside and went upstairs, where smoke that extended to the floor impeded visibility. Inhaling smoke, Reckner returned to the first floor. He went upstairs again, called out to Natascha, and, hearing her moan, crawled into the burning bedroom. Reckner located the crib, then removed Natascha and took her downstairs and outside to safety. Natascha required lengthy hospitalization for treatment of smoke inhalation and severe burns. Reckner also was treated at a hospital for smoke inhalation.
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