Alfred W. Alexander rescued Thomas A. Ratcliffe from burning, Charlotte, North Carolina, February 5, 1963. Ratcliffe, 56, automotive repair shop operator, on a creeper beneath a pickup truck in his repair shop, removed the truck’s fuel tank. Some of the gasoline from the tank spilled onto the floor, the fumes ignited, and Ratcliffe was enveloped in a burst of flames. He released his hold on the tank, spilling more gasoline, and tried to push himself away on the creeper but stopped with his head and shoulders still beneath the truck. Alexander, 36, greenskeeper, was in the shop and ran to alongside Ratcliffe amid gusts of flames three to six feet high. Heat was intense. Flames rose two to four inches on Ratcliffe’s attire above the waist. Taking hold of Ratcliffe’s belt, Alexander swung him on the creeper to beyond the flames issuing from under the truck and then pulled him to his feet. Ratcliffe struggled to go free, but Alexander held him and violently jerked away part of his burning attire as they moved toward the door. Alexander then released Ratcliffe and with both hands quickly tore off the remaining part of his burning clothing before they left the building. Firemen extinguished the flames in the shop. Ratcliffe suffered extensive burns and was hospitalized. Alexander sustained burns to his hands. Both men recovered.
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