Glenn F. Gregg helped to rescue Donald M. Tyrrell from burning, Porterville, California, May 26, 1965. Tyrrell’s helicopter was caught in a downdraft, dropped on high power lines which caused it to catch fire, and then fell to the ground near the swaying wires. The aircraft’s fuel tank was ruptured, and flames spread on the outside of the plastic cabin and around a smaller fuel tank which still was intact. Tyrrell, 40, citrus farmer, who had sustained a fractured back, was pinned in his seat by the control column. Gregg, 61, retired civil service employee, ran to the opening at the side of the helicopter, but flames rising eight feet from the ground and blowing into the cabin prevented him from reaching Tyrrell. He ran to the front of the aircraft, where there were no flames, and tore away pieces of the broken plastic until he had made a hole two feet in diameter. When Gregg tried to reach into the cabin he was forced back by the flames inside. Roland E. Smith arrived with a small fire extinguisher as Gregg enlarged the hole. Through it Smith sprayed the flames inside the cabin, extinguishing them. Oscar O. Brown, who had a very serious cardiac condition, arrived as Gregg reached through the hole and jerked the control column aside. He and Brown each extended his head, arm, and shoulder through the hole and into the cabin. Heat was intense, but Smith continued using the extinguisher and kept the interior free of flames. Together Gregg and Brown pulled Tyrrell through the hole. Smith then aided in dragging him away from the burning helicopter. When they were 30 feet from it, the small fuel tank exploded, spreading the fire. Firemen arrived and put out the flames. Tyrrell was hospitalized for severe burns in addition to his injuries.
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