William M. Bettis, 46, railroad special agent, helped to save John B. Borgeson, 83, from burning, Fairbanks, Alaska, February 5, 1968. Borgeson, who was ill, was in a bed in a one-room Iog cabin when fire broke out on the wall behind the stove and spread up the underside of the logs forming the peaked roof, reaching the ridge log. Bettis ard his wife, who were acquainted with Borgeson, were driving by and noticed flames at the air vent in the roof. While his wife went to summon aid, Bettis ran to the door of a wooden shed which had been built at the side of the cabin where its door was located. He opened the shed door. Flames which had spread along the ridge log had burned through the wall above the cabin door. Embers were falling on and near cans of high octane fuel stored in the shed, which also contained emptied fuel cans and containers of kerosene. Bettis extinguished most of the embers with snow and threw the four cans of high octane fuel outside. He then opened the cabin door. Flames extended six feet along the ridge log from the wall above the door, and smoke filled the cabin to within four feet of the floor. Running beneath the overhead flames and amid falling embers, Bettis reached the bed. The smoke began clearing as Bettis carried Borgeson to a nearby chair and aided him in putting on his trousers. While Borgeson continued dressing, Bettis ascertained that the roof was in no danger of collapsing and then went back into the shed, where the flames still were confined to the area above the cabin door. He began throwing out the emptied fuel cans lest the vapor and fuel residue in them cause an explosion. Two men then arrived. While Bettis threw out more cans and then scooped snow onto the falling embers, the two men took Borgeson to a nearby dwelling. Fireman arrived and extinguished the flames.
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