Paul W. Gragg died attempting to save Sonley E. Patton from suffocation, Greenwich, Kansas, May 11, 1932. Patton, 36, was overcome by methane gas in an oil tank, which he had entered to make repairs. Oily salt water was flowing from a pipe into the 8.5-foot-high tank and was 18 inches deep on the bottom. From the top of the tank, Gragg, 24, laborer, alerted another laborer and then entered the tank through its 18-inch manhole. He descended a ladder to the bottom. Looking through the manhole, the other laborer saw Gragg carrying Patton on his shoulder toward the ladder. He reached through the manhole and grasped Patton’s clothing. When Gragg, who stood at the foot of the ladder, began to sag, the other laborer quickly shifted his grasp to Gragg’s shoulder. Patton then fell to the bottom, where he lay with his head above the water. Holding Gragg, who was unconscious, the other laborer descended the ladder and laid him on the bottom, keeping his head above the water. The other laborer then became dizzy and climbed out of the tank. He alerted other men at a distance, then re-entered the tank and again descended the ladder. He tied one end of a cable around Gragg and started to ascend the ladder but was overcome by gas and fell from it. One of the men who responded, a machinist, descended the ladder and tied a rope around the other laborer. He was pulled out of the tank and revived. The machinist then climbed out. Several minutes later a hole was cut in the tank, and, after air had entered, Gragg and Patton were removed. They could not be revived.
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