Jack D. Newcomb, 34, truck driver, helped to save William F. McFarland from an impending explosion, Fairfax, Oklahoma, January 16, 1963. White McFarland, 32, welder, and another man were working on a steel walkway alongside an empty oil storage tank 10 feet high and six feet in diameter, oil fumes inside the tank exploded violently, knocking the other man to the ground eight feet below the walkway. The top of the tank, which was connected by a pipe to two adjacent tanks each containing more than 1,200 gallons of crude oil, was blown loose and hung over the side, pinning McFarland against another connecting pipe 18 inches above the walkway. Badly injured, he called for help. Flames from paraffin residue inside the tank rose five feet above it and continued to burn steadily. Although fearing that the other tanks might explode at any time, Newcomb, 34, truck driver, and George V. Holt ascended a ladder to the walkway and ran to McFarland. Heat was noticeable. Newcomb grasped the tank top but was unable to lift it alone, and both men could not reach it at the same time from their positions on the narrow walkway. They descended the ladder and ran alongside the tank, where the edge of the hanging top was five feet above the ground, but still could not lift it. Two other workmen arrived. While they assisted Holt in raising the tank top slightly, Newcomb returned to the walkway and pulled McFarland free. He then aided him to the ladder. Holt and the other men assisted McFarland in descending to the ground. Burning material dropping from the tank ignited the grass before the paraffin burned up completely. McFarland and the other injured man were hospitalized and recovered.
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