Edwin Thomas Collins, 20, student, rescued Will Pilcher, 20, and Leon A. Peris, 19, students, from a fatal fall, Gambier, Ohio, February 27, 1949. At night, while Pilcher and Collins were asleep in a room on the third floor of a dormitory and Peris was in a room on the second floor, fire broke out and soon spread to hallways adjoining the rooms. Collins awoke, aroused Pilcher, and stepped into the hallway. Flames filled a stairway leading down to lower floors and a washroom at the end of the hall which gave access to a fire escape. Collins went to a window in the room, stepped onto the window sill, and jumped 4.5 feet to the metal ladder of the fire escape that extended down from a platform at the washroom window. He called to Pilcher, who stood on the window sill of their room, to jump. At Collins’ instructions, Pilcher faced the wall, held to the window sash with one hand, extended his other hand and a foot toward Collins, and jumped. Collins caught him with one arm and swung him down behind himself, Pilcher getting hold of a rung of the ladder. Getting footing, Pilcher then descended to the ground. Collins descended the ladder to the second-floor level where Peris, who had stood for two minutes on the window sill of his room, called to him for help. Smoke issued from the window, and flames rose upward from a window at the opposite side of the ladder. As Peris held to the window-sash and leaned toward Collins, he grasped Collins’ outstretched arm at the wrist and then jumped. Collins supported Peris, who was larger than he, momentarily until Peris got onto the ladder. Peris, followed by Collins, descended to the ground. Neither Pilcher nor Peris was burned. Collins unknowingly had suffered burns of the face and ears and burns and lacerations of the hands which healed in three weeks. The fire burned out the entire building, six students perishing in the flames and others receiving fatal injuries in jumping or falling from windows.
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