William H. Davis saved Roswell A. Spinks from burning, Peru, New York, December 27, 1960. After skidding on icy pavement and striking a telephone pole, the four-door sedan driven by Spinks stopped with the engine still running and the horn sounding. Spinks, 36, railroad transportation clerk, was thrown to the floor and wedged between the doorpost and the right side of the twisted front seat as gasoline from the ruptured fuel tank flowed onto the ground and ignited. Davis, 34, teacher, ran to the left side of the sedan, approaching cautiously lest an explosion be set off by sparks from the left rear wheel, which was spinning rapidly. He peered into the vehicle but could see nothing because of the smoke. Davis then ran to a truck, which had stopped nearby and obtained a fire extinguisher, but it would not work. As flames on the ground rose to two feet in height, Davis ran around the front end of the sedan with caution lest the vehicle lurch forward. After several attempts, he opened the jammed right front door. Still unable to see anything inside, Davis thrust his upper body into the sedan and felt about until he touched Spinks, who barely was conscious. Within two feet of flames then burning on the rear seat, Davis grasped Spinks by the shoulder, dislodged him with difficulty, and then drew him to a seated position. After tugging several times, he pulled Spinks from the sedan and dragged him six feet away, from where two men then aided in carrying him 25 feet farther. As they placed Spinks on the ground, an explosive spread of flames quickly covered the entire vehicle. Firemen extinguished the flames. Spinks was hospitalized two weeks and recovered.
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