Velma K. Davenport sustained fatal injuries saving William Grissom from burning, Lodi, California, December 29, 1936. While Miss Davenport’s father stood beside a stove in a tent preparing a mixture of paraffin and gasoline that he was using to water-proof the canvas, an explosion occurred. He carried a pan containing burning mixture from the tent and dropped it four feet from the doorway, spilling some on the ground. Where Miss Davenport, 14, school-girl, and William, 6, were at the instant the accident occurred is not definitely known, but almost immediately Miss Davenport was observed coming out the doorway holding William in her arms, her dress in flames from her hips down. Flames rose five feet from the top and three feet from the walls of the tent, the canvas sides of which dropped outside wooden walls standing three feet high. Stepping over a high sill, Miss Davenport tripped; and she and William fell partly in the pan and partly in the burning material on the ground. Other persons then beat out the flames on their clothing. William was burned seriously but recovered. Miss Davenport died two days later from burns.
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