Mark Steven Plock helped to rescue Ted A. Fink from burning, Lanark, Illinois, November 20, 1999. Using a tractor, Fink, 45, had just moved a leaking 1,000-gallon tank partially filled with propane into a field of his farm when the escaping gas ignited explosively. A massive cloud of fire was sent into the air, and Fink was set aflame, as were field stubble in the immediate vicinity and gas that continued to escape from the tank. Working at an adjoining farm, Plock, 39, farmer and construction worker, witnessed the accident and immediately responded to the scene. Entering the field, he crawled underneath burning vapors, patting out burning stubble in his path, to where he found Fink lying near the burning tank. Plock lay atop Fink to smother the flames on him, only to have the flames re-ignite. Meanwhile, Plock’s brother, who also had witnessed the accident from another farm nearby, responded to the scene. He too entered the burning field and assisted Plock in extinguishing the flames on Fink by throwing dirt on him. The men then removed Fink’s smoldering clothes and stamped out flames immediately around them. Fink sustained second- and third-degree burns to most of his body and required 14 months’ hospitalization. Plock required hospital treatment for lesser burns, to a hand, and he sustained effects of smoke inhalation. He recovered.
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