Willie R. Copal helped to save three children from burning, Farmville, Virginia, March 4, 1969. Four small children were unattended in a bedroom in a one-story section of a frame dwelling when fire broke out in the adjoining living room. Noticing flames at the living room window, Copal, 37, railroad brakeman, and two other men ran to the porch of the dwelling. Copal opened the living room door and, guided by screams of the children, crawled into the dwelling. The second man did likewise; but their path was blocked by flames and they returned to the porch. While the third man went to summon firemen, Copal and the second man ran to the side of the house. Copal forced open the door of the kitchen, which adjoined the bedroom, and in dense smoke crawled into the dwelling. The second man, following, located and opened two windows. Copal crawled into the bedroom, where flames covered one wall and part of the ceiling. He located the bed and called out that he had found the children. Two of them, one at a time, were taken by Copal to the bedroom doorway, from where the second man carried each to the outside. When the man crawled back to the doorway and met Copal with another child, both men were feeling effects of the smoke. They crawled out of the dwelling. The third man removed the last child. Soon afterward the bedroom ceiling collapsed.
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