Henry L. Skinner, 54, maintenance assistant, saved an indeterminate number of persons from burning, Goldsboro, North Carolina, February 6, 1958. After repairing a valve on a tank of oxygen in the children’s ward utility room at a hospital, Skinner opened the valve to test it; and the escaping oxygen burst into flames, igniting his shirt and two walls of the room. Skinner ran from the room into a hall, where a nurse and a man helped him to extinguish the flames on his clothing. Fearing that the tank might explode and create a larger fire which would endanger the children in nearby rooms, Skinner, who was in considerable pain from burns, ran back to the utility room to shut off the oxygen. He shielded his face with his jacket as he stood within two feet of flames on the walls and extended his hands to within three inches of flames issuing from the tank, on which the valve was very hot and some connections had been melted by the heat. Sustaining additional burns as he turned the valve a little at a time, Skinner succeeded in closing it enough to extinguish the flames from the tank. He then placed his jacket over the valve and closed it tightly. Firemen arrived and extinguished the remaining flames, which were confined to the utility room. Skinner, who had sustained burns to his hands, face, and upper body, was hospitalized five weeks and recovered within four months.
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