Gerald Wise died after attempting to rescue John D. Christensen from suffocation, New Albany, Indiana, August 29, 1932. While at work in a new cesspool, which was 18 feet deep, Christensen, 42, concrete contractor, was overcome by methane gas and sank to his knees on a platform that was nine feet below the surface, just after he had made a hole in the wall making a connection with an old adjacent cesspool. Sewage poured in from the old cesspool and rose to a point a foot above the platform. There was a strong odor of sewage at the surface. Wise, 29, plumber, was attracted to the scene and descended to Christensen by digging his feet into the clay walls and sliding down to the platform. He reached toward Christensen, immediately was overcome, and slumped down on the platform. About three minutes later Norman B. Emery entered the cesspool, descending to the platform and lifting Christensen’s chin. Before he could render further aid, he was overcome and fell on Wise and Christensen. Firemen arrived later and removed Emery and then the others. Emery recovered. Christensen was dead, and Wise died 24 hours later without having recovered consciousness.
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