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Troutdale teen honored for courage in fire rescue

Mar 13, 2013


By The Associated Press

PORTLAND — A Troutdale teenager who climbed a ladder to rescue an 8-year-old boy from the second story of a burning house has gotten national recognition and an award for his courage.

The Congressional Medal of Honor Society says Marcos Ugarte is one of four winners of this year's Citizen Service Before Self award, The Oregonian reported Tuesday.

In September, Ugarte and his father, Eduardo Ugarte, heard screaming a few houses away, and they bolted out the door to help.

They found a house on fire and family members outside. An 8-year-old boy had locked himself in a second-story bedroom when he spotted flames, and his father couldn't reach him.

Eduardo Ugarte charged into the house to try to rescue the boy but was forced back by flames.

So Marcos Ugarte grabbed a ladder, scurried to the second floor, punched out a screen window and coaxed the terrified boy out.

With his father holding the ladder, Ugarte scooped his arm around the child and lowered him to safety.

“I knew I couldn't mess up because there was a life on the line,” Ugarte said.

The fire caused extensive damage but no injuries.

Ugarte and the three others were picked among 23 finalists nominated by police and fire officials, mayors, governors and residents. Medal of Honor recipients picked the final honorees.

Two of the other recipients of the Citizen Service Before Self award rescued 120 people during Hurricane Isaac in 2012, and a fourth developed a homeless support center in San Diego that is considered a model for such services.

Ugarte is a Gresham High School freshman. He will receive the award on March 25, Medal of Honor Day, at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

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Information from: The Oregonian, http://www.oregonlive.com

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