William Hugh Emory saved Mary C. Walling and Tammy Jo Washington from burning, Petersburg, Virginia, March 24, 1961. Mrs. Walling, 82, and Tammy Jo, 2, were in a one-story house after fire broke out in the living room and began to spread rapidly. Emory, 34, machine operator, was driving by and saw the flames, which then had spread through the open front door onto the porch. Learning that a baby was inside the house, he kicked in a window and climbed into the front bedroom, where there was no visibility because of dense smoke. He crawled across the room and opened the door to the hall. A burst of flames singed his hair, and he closed the door. Emory climbed back through the window and then broke another window. He climbed into the rear bedroom and in the dense smoke probed beneath two beds without finding Tammy Jo. Choking from the smoke, he reached a door, opened it, and crawled into the hallway, the other end of which was in flames from floor to ceiling. Failing to find Tammy Jo in the hall, he moved back into the bedroom and closed the door. As he crawled through the room, he bumped into a chair and found Mrs. Walling in it. Emory took her to the window and climbed out after lifting her through it. He then re-entered the bedroom, crawled across the room, and moved into the hallway, where the spreading flames then were nearer. Moving farther along the hall, Emory found Tammy Jo on the floor and he took her back to the bedroom window, lifted her through it, and then climbed out, choking and nauseated. Mrs. Walling was affected by the smoke, and Tammy Jo was hospitalized for smoke exposure and burns. Emory sustained cuts and burns on his hands. All recovered.
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William Hugh Emory, 86, of Surry County, Va., died on Aug. 7, 2012. He was the son of William and Tina Elizabeth Doyle Emory.
Emory was a retiree of Brown & Williamson Tobacco Co., and was a World War II veteran who served in the Army.
(Edited from an obituary in the Progress-Index on August 8, 2012.)