William J. Lum saved Denise Robinson from burning, Summit, New York, July 28, 2003. Unable to walk due to a disability, Ms. Robinson, 39, was trapped on the first floor of her house after a fire broke out in the living room and filled the house with dense smoke. From his home nearby, Lum, 24, emergency medical technician, saw smoke issuing from the house and immediately responded to the scene. Despite having almost no visibility in the smoke, he twice entered the house through the rear door but was forced to retreat each time, first after being nearly overcome by conditions and then after becoming stunned when he bumped into a support post. On his third attempt, Lum, crouching, made his way into the living room, where he found Ms. Robinson, who lay on the floor. Grasping her by the ankle, he pulled her to the rear door, then outside, where he covered her with his body to protect her from the flying glass of breaking windows. He then lifted Ms. Robinson and carried her to a neighbor’s yard, where he helped arriving paramedics tend her. Ms. Robinson and Lum were both taken to the hospital for treatment of smoke inhalation. They recovered.
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