Michael Cullinane, Sr., died helping to save Paul L. Flash from suffocation, Sea Isle City, New Jersey, August 26, 1992. Flash, a member of a construction crew, lay overcome by noxious gas on a ledge in an excavation pit at a point about 17 feet below ground level and 10 feet above the floor of the pit. Cullinane, 30, was one of the first police officers to arrive at the scene. He immediately entered the pit and descended on a ladder to where Flash lay. Taking an air hose that had been suspended into the pit, Cullinane directed air into Flash’s face, then into the face of another officer who had entered the pit to help. Being overcome by the gas, Cullinane fell to the bottom of the pit and was immersed in the water which was collecting there. The other officer made it to safety. Members of the fire department, equipped with breathing apparatus, entered the pit and removed Flash and Cullinane. Flash required extensive hospitalization, but attempts to revive Cullinane were unsuccessful.
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