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For firefighter Dino Mahaffey, February 22, 2004 was just another workday. He and the men of Engine Company 21 outside of Baltimore responded to a house fire that started in clothes dryer.

When Dino was searching the house for victims, a raging wall of fire closed in on him and trapped him on the second floor. When the first floor exploded, Dino fell back, smashing his breathing gear. Just before passing out, Dino was able to send a frantic "Mayday" to the other firefighters.

Without hesitation, firefighters Kenny Ward and Phil Bird ran into the burning building. Crawling on their hands and knees through the thick, black smoke, Kenny and Phil could only search by touch. They found Dino unconscious and not breathing. Kenny and Phil carried Dino's severely burned body to a window where they lowered him to paramedics.

Dino remained in a coma for 28 days, but has since recovered and returned home.

I feel like I owe Kenny and Phil everything," Dino says. "I can't thank them enough for what they did. I mean, my kids still have their father. Kenny and Phil are real-life heroes."
FROM: John Travolta Salutes Real-Life Heroes
Published on September 20, 2004