Manly Courage at its Finest

Washington Post, December 5, 2008

As Oglesby ran back to grab a hose, Warfield and Klavon, from the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rescue Squad, raced past him and charged up the stairs. As fast as they moved, the fire was faster, overtaking them, Warfield said.

Through their fire-resistant equipment, they could feel the heat. Burn blisters sprouted on Warfield’s ear and first-degree burns on his face.

Feeling by hand, he and Klavon found the cribs covered by nylon mesh that investigators believe kept the children from climbing out. Precious seconds ticked by as they struggled with the mesh, finally cutting them free with a utility knife. Hearing Oglesby and other firefighters approach, Warfield and Klavon grabbed a toddler each.

“Get the third one!” they yelled as they rushed down the stairs and out of the house.

In the space of a minute — the time it took from the nursery to the front yard — the little boys in their arms stopped breathing, Warfield said.

“We stripped our helmets off and started mouth-to-mouth,” he said. “And as soon as ambulance crews put them on cots, Klavon and I looked at each other and said, ‘Let’s go get the third.’ ”

But in the middle of the yard, they collapsed from injuries and exhaustion. All they could do was stare at the door.

A few minutes later, they saw Oglesby emerge with the third boy in his arms.

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About John Mansfield

Mansfield in the desertA third-generation southern Nevadan, I have lived in exile most of my life in such places as Los Alamos, Baltimore, Los Angeles, the western suburbs of Detroit, and currently the northern suburbs of Washington, D.C. I work as a fluid dynamics engineer. I was baptized at age twelve in the font of the Las Vegas Nevada Central Stake Center, and on my nineteenth birthday I received the endowment in the St. George Temple. I served as a missionary mostly in the Patagonia of Argentina from 1985 to 1987. My true calling in the Church seems to be working with Cub Scouts, whom I have served in different capacities in four states most years since 1992. (My oldest boy turned eight in 2004.) I also currently teach Sunday School to the thirteen-year-olds. I hold degrees from two universities named for men who died in the 1870s, the Brigham Young University and the Johns Hopkins University. My wife is Elizabeth Pack Mansfield, who comes from New Mexico's north central mountains and studied molecular biology at the same two schools I attended. We have four sons, whose care and admonition, along with care of my aged father, require much of Elizabeth's time. She currently serves the Church as Mia-Maid advisor, ward music chairman, and choir director, and plays violin whenever she can. One day, I would like to make shoes.