Fred B. Birmingham saved Harvey L. Burns from suffocation, Ansonville, North Carolina, August 24, 1932. Burns, 18, was overcome by gas in a well, which was 46 feet deep, although air was being pumped through a hose that reached almost to the bottom of the well. Birmingham, 32, carpenter and farmer, sitting on a board in a loop in the end of a windlass rope, was lowered in the well by his wife and a man, who had refused to enter the well. He held to the windlass rope and breathed as little as possible. Two young girls, who were the only other persons present, turned the crank of the air pump. At the bottom, Birmingham got from the board and placed the open end of the hose in his mouth. He raised Burns, placed him on the board, and tied him to the windlass rope with a short rope. Burns was hauled to the top and removed from the rope, which was quickly lowered again. Birmingham sat on the board, held to the rope, and was pulled to the top. Although he still held the hose between his teeth, he was weak and staggered. He had been in the well for three to four minutes. He and the other man worked over Burns, who was revived.
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