Barbara Lynn Burdette, 14, schoolgirl, helped to rescue Aaron L. Shirkey, 10, from burning, Culloden, West Virginia, August 6, 1965. Aaron climbed a steel tower which supported three high voltage electric lines and, standing on a crossarm 35 feet above the ground, came into contact with one of the uninsulated wires which carried more than 44,000 volts of electricity. Following a loud blast accompanied by sparks, Aaron toppled backward but was kept from falling when his leg became hooked over the top of one bar of the crossarm and under the other. His trousers caught fire as he hung head downward with his other foot extended upward to within 18 inches of the wire. Miss Burdette ran to the tower and climbed up the diagonal braces. Sitting on the crossarm with her head below the electric line, she held to the tower and beat out the flames on Aaron’s trousers. She was attempting to free Aaron’s foot when Donald E. Cremeans arrived. He told Miss Burdette to return to the ground. As she did so, Cremeans climbed to the crossarm. His head was close to the electric line as he removed his belt and used it to secure Aaron to the crossarm. Cremeans removed Aaron’s trousers, which still were smoldering, and then freed his foot. Moving Aaron to against the tower, Cremeans secured him there with the belt. Firemen arrived. Cremeans climbed down as one of the firemen ascended to Aaron, who was lowered to the ground by a rope sling. Aaron was hospitalized for severe burns and recovered.
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