Neal Herron, 39, truck driver, rescued Harlen T. Johnson, 29, mechanic, from burning, Williston, North Dakota, March 18, 1966. Johnson pushed a switch to open an overhead door in a large garage in which he and another man had just drained some jet fuel from one of two cargo tanks of a tanker truck. There was an explosion of accumulated fumes, and flames five feet high appeared on the floor in an area 20 feet in diameter. One cargo tank then exploded. Near the trailer were drums of jet fuel and oil, while at the opposite end of the garage was another tractor-trailer containing 7000 gallons of crude oil. Herron, who was about to leave the garage, was blown through a doorway. Within10 seconds there was another explosion. The other man emerged from the building in flames. Herron pulled off the man’s burning clothing, sustaining burns to his hands, and then ran to opposite the open overhead door. He saw Johnson lying on the floor four feet inside the doorway. The latter had sustained burns, and his hair was afire. Putting his jacket over his head for protection from glass falling from the overhead door, which was burning, Herron ran to Johnson and quickly dragged him out of the garage. When they were 10 feet from the building, the overhead door crashed to the floor. Herron used his jacket to smother the flames on Johnson’s hair. He took Johnson and the other man to his automobile. One wall of the garage then toppled and, following another explosion, another wall fell. Herron, despite his burned hands, drove Johnson and the other man to a hospital, where the latter succumbed to his burns. Johnson and Herron recovered from their burns.
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Neal Herron, 63, of Billings, Mont., died on Sept. 7, 1990. He was born in Casper, Wyo., on Dec. 1, 1926, to Claude W. and Virginia Herron.
He attended schools in Casper, Wyo., until enlisting in the Navy in 1944. He earned Asiatic Pacific 1 Star, American Area, and Victory Points while serving on battleship duty.
Herron worked as a truck driver for Hauck Transportation, Getter Trucking, and Wagoneer Trucking. During his work for Hauck, he received the Carnegie Medal for a rescue involving an exploding Hauck Transporation terminal building. He enjoyed fishing, carpentry, and building model ships.
He was buried at Sunset Memorial Gardens in Billings.
(Edited from an obituary provided by a family member.)