Capt. William Reynolds and firefighter Hope Scott scaled a ladder and climbed though the second-floor window of the house without the protection of a fire hose. It was a high-risk maneuver but one that paid off.
The White House on Wednesday honored the firefighters with the Medal of Valor, the highest national award for bravery by a public safety official.
Reynolds and Scott "placed themselves at one of the greatest risks recognized in the fire service," the White House wrote in a news release.
The heat of the fire was so strong that a thermal imaging camera couldn't work, forcing the firefighters to crawl blindly through debris.
After about two minutes of searching, Scott heard a faint cry and found the baby on a mattress on the floor. She picked up the baby, who was unresponsive and not breathing, and crews began life-saving efforts before transporting the infant to a hospital. The infant made a full recovery, according to a news release.
Firefighters also located the child's great-grandmother. She was unconscious and lying on the stairs leading to the second floor. The 73-year-old died from her injuries, which included smoke inhalation, several days after the fire, according to the release.
Written by The Virginian-Pilot