Hero – American Hero Rescues Child From Blazing Apartment
On December 4, 2013, Kerra, aged 7, was in her family’s apartment, which was on the second floor of a two-story building, when fire broke out in one of the unit’s bedrooms.
By good fortune, or God’s grace, Frederick J. Levesque Jr., 52, of Stafford Springs, Connecticut, happened to be driving by when he noticed flames and smoke rising from the building.
Levesque, aged 52, a retired corrections administrator, stopped at the scene, and entered the building through the back door.
He climbed an interior stairway to the second floor and forced open the burning apartment’s back door but was forced out by the dense smoke.
Upon trying to enter a second time, he heard Kerra’s voice, but the smoke forced him out again.
On his third attempt, Levesque managed to enter the apartment, this time by crawling and despite limited visibility, he advanced through the smoke following Kerra’s voice and found her on the floor.
Without standing, he backed to the door, pulling her, and then stood up, picked Kerra up, and carried her downstairs and outside to safety.
Kerra was hospitalized for treatment of smoke inhalation and minor burns, and she recovered.
Levesque inhaled smoke and was given oxygen at the scene, and he too recovered.
Firefighters arrived as Levesque was carrying Kerra to safety, and the firefighters rescued Kerra’s mother.
Levesque Asked To Remain Anonymous
After the rescue, Levesque asked to remain anonymous and fire officials honored that request, although they did tell the media about the good Samaritan who rescued Kerra.
“He apparently made several attempts to enter the building. There was quite a bit of smoke, and he came out choking and gagging. He went back in to get her. If it wasn’t for him, there could have been multiple fatalities".
"There are so few people who would take this on. You’re putting your life in danger to save someone else. We do that as firefighters, but we have gear and protection, and it’s still dangerous for us. What he did, that’s truly amazing".
Said Frank M. Falcone, deputy chief of the Somers Fire Department and he praised the selection of Levesque for a Carnegie Hero award.
The Carnegie Heroes Award
It was the Carnegie Heroes award officials that announced Levesque as one of their honorees.
Walter Rutkowski, president of the Carnegie Hero Fund said,
"Essentially he’s receiving an award because his act of heroism met the requirement of the Carnegie Hero Fund"..
"We recognize people that risk their lives to an extraordinary degree in saving or attempting to save the lives of others".
"He pulled a young girl from her family’s burning apartment".
Rutkowski said that all the winners receive a Carnegie Medal and a financial grant of $5,000.
Levesque received the medal approximately two months later because each one is is struck individually.
Other recipients of the Carnegie Hero awards included people from Arizona, California, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Nebraska, New York, Oregon, Washington, and Wisconsin.
The Carnegie Hero awards are named for Pittsburgh steel magnate and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, who was inspired by stories of heroism during a coal mine disaster that killed 181 people, including a miner and an engineer who died trying to rescue others.
The commission investigates stories of heroism and awards medals and cash grants several times a year.
It has given away nearly $37 million to 9,737 awardees or their families since its inception in 1904.