Joseph W. Herbert, 37, cable splicer, rescued John H. Long and Ralph D. Alexander from burning, Pasadena, California, August 13, 1962. While Long, 22, apprentice cable splicer, and Alexander, 43, senior cable splicer, were working in an underground electrical vault seven feet deep, three cutout switches exploded, each spraying a gallon of burning oil throughout the chamber. Long and Alexander, injured and badly burned, called for help from the bottom of a ladder that extended through a manhole to ground level three feet above the vault. Herbert and other workmen saw flames and black smoke issue from the manhole at each explosion and knew that other switches and oil-filled transformers in the vault might also explode. They opened a nearby manhole atop the vault and placed another ladder in it. Herbert descended the ladder into the vault, which was filled with smoke. Unable to see anything, he moved in the direction of the first manhole. He found Long, whose clothes were afire in spots, on the floor at the foot of the ladder. Herbert lifted Long to his feet, placed his back against the ladder., and pushed him upward as far as he could. Two men reached into the manhole and drew Long from the vault. Herbert then found Alexander nearby, and the same procedure was used to remove him. Coughing and barely able to see because of the smoke, Herbert ascended from the vault. Alexander died a week later, and Long succumbed within a month. Herbert sustained burns to his hands, which healed.
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