Kerry Alfred Osborne helped to save Donald H. Collings from burning, Pointe au Baril Station, Ontario, April 7, 1997. Collings, 43, was one of three crewmembers in the lead locomotive of a 48-car train that was traveling through a remote area at night. All four of the train’s locomotives and 14 of its cars suddenly derailed when it reached the area where the track bed had collapsed. The lead locomotive came to rest on its right side, partly buried by embankment fill, and a large fire broke out on one of the other locomotives, which had landed atop the lead unit. A large quantity of diesel fuel escaped the locomotives’ ruptured tanks. Collings, badly injured and unconscious, was trapped in the wreckage, but the two other crewmembers, Osborne, 40, railroad engineer, and the train’s brakeman, escaped the locomotive by climbing through its door, which was then overhead. The train included a tanker car loaded with propane, and, although Osborne and the brakeman did not know its status, they remained at the wreckage to free Collings. With his hands, the brakeman dug embankment fill that blocked access to a window in the cab of the lead locomotive. He then crawled partially into the cab, grasped Collings, and began to pull him out, aided by Osborne, but Collings remained trapped. Despite flames that extended at least 20 feet into the air from nearby wreckage, Osborne and the brakeman returned to the top of the lead locomotive. As the Osborne held the door open, the brakeman re-entered the cab completely, freed Collings, then exited the cab and, with Osborne, went back to the window. Osborne and the brakeman pulled Collings through the window and took him to a point nearby. Rather than flee the scene on foot, Osborne and the brakeman remained in the vicinity of the wreckage, despite thick, black smoke from the burning diesel fuel, to tend to Collings as they awaited help. Although it was cold, they removed their own coats to cover him. Help arrived by rail about 90 minutes after the accident, and all three men were taken to the hospital. Collings was detained three days for treatment of his injuries. Osborne was treated for bruises and smoke inhalation, and he required surgery for injury to a shoulder. Effects of the ordeal caused him to miss 14 months’ work.
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