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Posted February 20, 2013 EST

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Virginia Beach Firefighters Receive National Medals
United States (Virginia) -

When firefighters arrived at a house fire in the 4600 block of Jeanne Street in October 2010, they had minutes to make a life-saving decision. Fire was getting ready to spread to the second floor of the home. Two people were screaming from the rooftop porch. A 16-month-old girl and her great-grandmother were still inside, they said.

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

Courtesy of YellowBrix - YellowBrix

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