Matt Burson and Angel Fiorini are among the 20 men and women recently awarded the prestigious Carnegie Medal for outstanding civilian heroism. Seven individuals were honored posthumously, including three who were attempting to rescue children.
The Carnegie Medal is given throughout the United States and Canada to those who risk their lives to an extraordinary degree while saving or attempting to save the lives of others. Each of the awardees receives a financial grant from the Carnegie Hero Fund which was established in 1904 by industrialist-philanthropist Andrew Carnegie.
Read the full news release (includes descriptions of each heroic action)
Angel and Matt’s Story:
Angel Darlene Fiorini and Matthew Paul Burson helped to rescue Gianna E. Fiorini from burning, Burson also rescuing Fiorini, Newman Lake, Washington, October 28, 2016. Gianna, 7, was in the bedroom of a mobile home when fire broke out in the kitchen. Fiorini, 32, homemaker and Gianna’s mother, removed Gianna’s younger brother and sister from the home and then re-entered for Gianna. Fiorini went first to her hands and knees and then to her stomach and moved toward the bedroom through the thick, black smoke and blistering heat. Once inside the bedroom she removed Gianna from a bed and put her on the floor, then dragged her toward the front door. Fiorini stopped several feet from the door and briefly released Gianna to open it. Fiorini lost consciousness as she returned to Gianna. Matthew Paul Burson, 45, registered nurse and former volunteer firefighter for Spokane County Fire District 8, arrived on the scene and entered the home, crawling until he reached Fiorini, who was unconscious. Burson moved Fiorini to the door and took her outside, where she regained consciousness. Burson re-entered the home and found Gianna, who was also unconscious, and removed her from the home, where she regained consciousness. Flames extended out the doorway minutes after they were away from the home, which was shortly engulfed by flames. Gianna was hospitalized for smoke inhalation and severe burns to her body. Fiorini was hospitalized several weeks for severe lung damage from smoke inhalation and severe burns to nearly half of her body. Burson sustained burns to his hands and knees; he recovered.