William P. Ladrigan, 33, electrical mechanic, saved Mary A. DeLuca, 41, and attempted to save Julia McCreary, 45, from burning, New York, New York, February 9, 1967. Miss DeLuca and Mrs. McCreary were in adjacent rooms on the third floor of an 11-story brick hotel when fire broke out in the latter’s room. Noting smoke issuing from a third-floor window, Ladrigan ran into the hotel lobby and reported the fire to the manager, who notified firemen. Ladrigan ascended the emergency stairs to the third-floor landing, where he obtained a fire hose and turned on the water. Carrying the hose, he made his way through the smoke-filled hall to a passageway at the end of which were the adjoining doors of the rooms of Mrs. McCreary and Miss DeLuca. Ladrigan kicked open the door of Mrs. McCreary’s room. Flames and smoke issued into the hall. Ladrigan dropped to his knees and, spraying water ahead of him, crawled into the room. Flames covered one wall and had spread over the ceiling. Mrs. McCreary, her clothing afire, was on a balcony outside a window of the room, screaming for help. Ladrigan crawled to within five feet of the window, spraying nearby flames with the hose. He then saw a fireman on an aerial ladder aiding Mrs. McCreary from the balcony. Ladrigan crawled back out of the room, passing within inches of flames at the doorway. Hearing a scream from the adjoining room, he got to his feet and kicked open the door. Flames filled one corner of the room. Miss DeLuca was in another corner, the bottom of her robe afire. Ladrigan sprayed water on the robe and extinguished the flames as he moved to Miss DeLuca. She was in shock, and he had to push her forcibly to move her to the hall. They passed within inches of the flames. Ladrigan took Miss DeLuca to the stairway and met the hotel manager. While the manager led Miss DeLuca down the stairs, Ladrigan returned to the main hall and roused other occupants, who left. Firemen wearing masks arrived with hoses. Ladrigan, who was having difficulty breathing and was feeling dizzy, left the building. Firemen extinguished the flames. Miss DeLuca and Mrs. McCreary were hospitalized for burns. They recovered.
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