Donald Webb Black, 16, schoolboy, saved Garland G. Stutts, 46, locomotive engineer, from burning, Cherryville, North Carolina, July 13, 1966. When two freight trains collided, the lead diesel locomotive containing Stutts and a brakeman was badly damaged and toppled onto its side. Stutts, with one arm and leg broken, was trapped in the cab with a metal door and a fire extinguisher on top of him. Fire broke out on the engine, and oil began seeping into the cab, which was filled with dense smoke. Black arrived and, wearing only cutoff trousers and a sweat shirt, aided the brakeman who was climbing through the cab window. The brakeman said that Stutts was inside. As firemen arrived and began efforts to extinguish flames on several of the other wrecked engines, Black climbed back onto the overturned locomotive, where flames as much as three feet high burned within five feet of the cab. Flames burned under the engine around the fuel tank, which contained 900 gallons of diesel fuel. Heat was intense. Black peered into the cab but because of the smoke could not see Stutts, who called for help. Black asked for a rope, which was supplied to him. A fireman and another man climbed onto the engine with Black, who lowered himself through the window opening. He held his breath and crouched entirely within the cab, his bare feet in hot oil four inches deep. After removing the extinguisher and the metal door, Black tried to lift Stutts, who greatly outweighed him. He found that one leg of Stutts was caught under his seat. Black inhaled some smoke and began coughing. While the two men held one end of the rope, Black tied the other end around the chest of Stutts. The men raised Stutts slightly, and Black freed him. Flames one to two inches high appeared at the window opening on the bottom of the overturned cab. The two men pulled Stutts out of the cab with Black guiding him. Black then climbed through the window, and minutes later flames issued through the opening. Stutts recovered.
49042 – 528149042-5281