Nelson J. Fontenot saved an indeterminate number of persons from a possible explosion, Ville Platte, Louisiana, June 15, 1970. While gasoline was being transferred from a fuel truck to underground tanks at a service station, vapor ignited along the ground and at the storage tank openings, the open hatches of five compartments of the fuel truck, and vent pipes at the roof of the station building. Fontenot, 41, truckdriver, ran to the rear of the vehicle, extended his gloved hands into flames there, and shut off the flow of gasoline. The vapor continued to burn. Fearing an explosion of the underground tanks, Fontenot drove the burning truck away from the station and to a point in the street opposite a vacant lot. Flames at the truck were increasing as Fontenot jumped from the cab and, running to nearby homes, warned the occupants to move to a safe distance, which they did. Firemen arrived; and the flames were extinguished.
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