James N. Louque rescued John Copeland, Jr., and James Williams and helped to rescue Geneva Williams from burning, Donaldsonville, Louisiana, October 8, 1969. Butane gas escaping from a storage tank about 25 feet from a one-story frame dwelling accumulated beneath the structure and then ignited; and an explosion reduced the house to rubble. Louque, 42, asphalt plant superintendent, entered the dwelling despite warnings that the butane tank, which was afire, might explode. He made his way through the rubble, in which flames had broken out, and found John, 4, whom he carried from the dwelling. Learning that Williams and his wife also were inside, Louque called in vain for help in removing them. The flames at the butane tank were increasing, and those on the rubble were spreading. Louque went back into the dwelling and removed Williams, 82. Again entering the house, he found Mrs. Williams, 59, pinned under heavy debris within four feet of the flames. Louque demanded that workmen under his supervision assist him; and they then helped remove the debris from atop Mrs. Williams. When flames at the butane tank increased, the other men fled; but Louque continued removing debris from Mrs. Williams. The butane flames subsided somewhat; and the men then helped Louque carry Mrs. Williams from the dwelling. She and her husband recovered, but John died.
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