Carl E. Watkins, 26, construction worker, rescued William J. DeLong, 26, courier, from burning, Dalton, Ohio, July 26, 1966. When a tractor-trailer struck DeLong’s station wagon from behind, the vehicle was badly damaged and fire broke out at the back. DeLong, badly dazed, remained in the station wagon as flames five to eight feet high spread forward on the vehicle. Watkins ran to the station wagon and tried in vain to open the front door on the driver’s side. He could not see DeLong because of the dense smoke. Watkins then ran to the right front door and with effort pulled it open. Heat was intense. Crouching, Watkins reached into the station wagon, noting flames along the opposite side of the interior and on the front seat. He heard loud crackling sounds at the rear of the vehicle. Watkins extended his body to the waist into the station wagon and took hold of DeLong. Flames burned on the backrest behind DeLong and on the seat at the other side of him. Watkins pulled DeLong two feet toward the door and then withdrew from the station wagon. By that time exterior flames four to five feet high were within four feet of the door. Watkins pulled DeLong on the seat until only his feet remained inside. Ronald L. Eckard, clad only in undershorts, arrived. Crouching alongside Watkins, Eckard extended his head and arms into the station wagon and took hold of DeLong’s feet. Watkins and Eckard removed DeLong, pulled off his smouldering clothing, and carried him away from the station wagon. DeLong was hospitalized for more than five months with extensive burns. He recovered. Watkins suffered burns to his hands which healed.
49111 – 526949111-5269