FALMOUTH, MA—Near-tragedy turned to joy Monday, as area residents Phillip and Karen Widman and their two children were saved from their burning house on Locust Street by Kevin Lassally, a homosexual man.

Falmouth resident Kevin Lassally, who likes to hold and kiss other men, is being hailed as a hero after rescuing a family of four from a deadly blaze.

The fire, believed to have started around 1 a.m. when an unextinguished candle ignited a set of drapes, threatened to consume the home and the Widman family along with it. Lassally, returning home after visiting with other homosexuals, smelled smoke and saw flames through the Widmans' living room window.

"I heard children crying, and knew I had to do something," the 34-year-old, gay computer programmer told reporters. "I used their porch railing to climb up on the roofing that underhung the children's bedroom. Then I had to kick in their window to reach them."

Once the window was broken, gusts of wind began funneling smoke out of the house and feeding oxygen into the fire. Said Lassally, "I couldn't see through the black wall of smoke, but I was able to locate the children from the sound of their crying." After the blinded, homosexual Lassally eased Meghan, 3, and Joshua, 18 months, out the window and leapt to the ground, protecting the children by absorbing the impact on his own back, he realized the children's parents had yet to be rescued.

"The oldest child began crying that her parents were still in the house," Lassally, who prefers the company of men to women, said. "So I had to go back in for them." The fearless and gay hero once again climbed onto the roof of the house and entered the second-floor window, only to discover after minutes of groping that the master bedroom was nowhere on the upstairs floor. Bolting down the stairs, he found the first floor to be a red-hot mass of flame and collapsing timbers. He nevertheless located the bedroom and carried the unconscious parents out on his shoulders.

By now a blackened, sooty, homosexual figure, Lassally set the Widmans down a safe distance from the house, just as firefighters were arriving, and collapsed on the lawn, exhausted and gay.

Lassally suffered burns covering over 70 percent of his body and sustained injuries leaving him unable to work or have anal intercourse with men for about two months. Doctors describe his condition as stable but homosexual.

As donations and toys come pouring in to the family, which lost most of its possessions, congratulatory cards and telegrams are being sent to Falmouth's new favorite gay citizen.

"This brave, homosexual man has inspired us all," Falmouth mayor Matthew Colella said. "The local hospital has announced plans to rename its burn ward "The Kevin Lassally Gay Burn Ward."

Karen Widman beamed with praise for their new hero: "He's the kind of guy you hope your kids will grow up to be like in certain ways, like courage."

Added husband Phillip: "Some-times life makes you cynical, like it's you against the world. Then out of nowhere comes a totally selfless gay person who turns your whole view around."

Lassally is modest in the face of so many tributes: "I've always believed that one [homosexual] really can make a difference."