Gerald W. Flowers, 31, oil pumper, saved Robert L. Moseley, 26, sales trainee, and helped to save Arnold A. Nowlin, 47, field serviceman, from suffocation, Dickinson, Texas, June 21, 1957. To repair a leak Nowlin entered an oil storage tank through a 30-inch manhole in its side. Although he wore a filter mask, Nowlin was overcome by air lacking sufficient oxygen and containing hydrocarbon fumes, falling on the bottom of the tank in crude oil 15 inches deep. Holding their breath, Flowers and Moseley, who was serving as a watcher for Nowlin, entered the tank to aid Nowlin. Moseley slipped and, inhaling the fumes, also was overcome. Flowers dragged Moseley, who outweighed him by 50 pounds, to the manhole and stepped outside. With difficulty he drew Moseley, unconscious but still breathing, through the opening. Again holding his breath, Flowers re-entered the tank and waded eight feet to Nowlin, who weighed more than twice as much as he. By successive jerks on the mask harness about Nowlin’s body, Flowers moved him several feet toward the manhole. As he again jerked on the strap, it suddenly broke, causing Flowers to lunge against the tank wall and suffer a cut on the forehead. He then left the tank and revived Moseley. Flowers entered the tank for the third time, dragged Nowlin with effort to the manhole, and then stepped outside. With much difficulty Flowers and Moseley, still somewhat dazed, pulled Nowlin through the opening. Flowers restored Nowlin’s breathing by artificial respiration and then ran 1500 feet to the nearest building, from where an ambulance was summoned by telephone. Nowlin revived fully at the hospital, where he remained for five days. Moseley did not require hospitalization. Flowers, who had been inside the tank a total of three minutes, was treated for the head laceration and later experienced slight nausea. All recovered.
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