John P. Knapp, Jr., rescued Samuel L. Cohn and Tamba R. Kai from exposure to sulphuric acid following an explosion, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, July 14, 1951. Cohn, 52, plating company president and Kai, 27, tank operator, were on a catwalk adjoining a line of open chemical tanks as workmen prepared to empty sulphuric acid into one of the tanks from a 55-gallon drum. An explosion occurred, and the acid was ejected forcibly from the drum in a dense continuous spray which saturated the catwalk and tanks. Cohn and Kai were showered and temporarily blinded by the acid and becoming dazed with pain moved aimlessly on the catwalk. The workmen ran to safety. Leaving a sheltered position behind a large transformer, Knapp, 46, expediter, ascended to the catwalk and without hesitation entered the spray. He ran 18 feet to near Kai, who fell four feet to a floor below the catwalk and rolled to the edge of the spray. Knapp continued six feet to Cohn, pushed him 12 feet to the end of the catwalk, and aided him to the floor. He led Cohn and Kai to a tank nearby and repeatedly immersed them in water. The clothing of both men had been consumed by the acid, and they were burned severely. Both were disabled for two months. Knapp sustained first- and second-degree burns of the face, back, chest, and arms, which healed in ten days. 42330-3758
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John P. Knapp, a resident of Olney neighborhood in Philadelphia for over 60 years, died April on 15, 1985, at his home in Hatboro, Pa. He was 79.
In 1952, he received the Carnegie Medal for a rescue the previous year. He was an active member of the Lindley United Methodist Church in Philadelphia and was involved in the Senior Fellowship groups at multiple churches.
(Edited from an obituary provided by a family member.)