Rodney E. Mathis rescued John W. Manning, Clarence L. Nelson, and Eugene H. Gaines from burning, Durbin, Florida, May 14, 1970. When fog caused a chain-reaction accident, Manning, 33, truckdriver, sustained severe injuries and, almost unconscious, was trapped in the cab of his tractor-trailer. Trapped in the cab of another rig behind Manning’s were Nelson, 40, truckdriver, and Gaines, 53, trucker’s helper. Fire broke out at a tank truck containing gasoline; and the flames spread to the cab of Manning’s rig. Mathis, 27, construction supervisor, ran to the wreckage and was within 50 feet of the tank truck when an explosion occurred. As the fire at the tanker increased, Mathis opened the door of Manning’s cab, into which flames had spread. He pulled Manning out and removed the latter’s burning attire. Mathis then ran to Nelson’s cab and, within 15 feet of the nearest flames, tried in vain to open the door. Although injured, Nelson broke the window glass; and Mathis aided him out. Gaines then put his head through the opening. Mathis and Nelson removed Gaines, who also had been injured. Manning succumbed to his burns and injuries; Nelson and Gaines recovered.
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