Eldridge Douglas Tanner rescued Marshall Soles and Chambers G. Elder from burning, Laurel, Maryland, June 1, 1936. Soles, 25, laborer, was riding on the seat in an autotruck, which was being driven by Tanner, 24, truck driver, on a highway at a speed of 35 m.p.h.; and Elder, 22, truck driver, was asleep in a bunk behind the seat. A heavy van was attached to the truck. Tanner swerved sharply off the highway to avoid striking an automobile. The side of the truck collided with a pole, and the truck then stopped. Tanner was thrown out one door, the other being damaged so that it could not be opened. He got to his feet and ran 10 feet to the open door. Gasoline had spilled from a damaged tank under the front fender at the opposite side of the truck, and flames entered the opposite door and through an opening at the wind-shield. Soles’s clothing was afire. Tanner got into the truck, pulled Soles out, and placed him on the running-board. He again entered, knelt on the seat, got hold of Elder, and dragged him out. Elder’s clothing also was afire. Elder, who appeared dazed, was unable to stand. Tanner put his arm around him, took hold of Soles, and supported both as they walked away. When they were 10 feet from the truck, an explosion occurred at the truck; and burning gasoline was thrown over the three. Elder died from his burns seven hours later, and Soles died the next day. Tanner was critically burned from neck to waist and was fully disabled for seven months but recovered, with somewhat impaired use of his arms.
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