William R. DeMille, 14, schoolboy, helped to save James C. Dumas, 11, from suffocation, South Portland, Maine, April 15, 1966. After he and another boy had removed the cover from a manway 18 inches in diameter in the top of a railroad tank car, James climbed into the opening and descended a ladder to the bottom of the tank, which was seven feet in diameter and 34 feet long. He was overcome by fumes from a residue of gasoline about an inch and a half deep. When James failed to answer his calls, his companion reported the situation to others. DeMille and Lloyd L. Palmer, Jr., learned what had happened and ran about 280 feet to the tank car. They climbed onto it and looked into the opening, from which heavy fumes issued. They could see nothing but heard James moaning. DeMille, holding his breath, descended the ladder. With his eyes watering from the fumes, he moved 10 feet in the darkness. Returning to the ladder, he was forced to take a breath and felt he was going to be overcome. He quickly ascended from the tank, feeling dizzy and with his vision blurred. DeMille and Palmer ran to the latter’s home to obtain a flashlight. They returned to the tank car and again climbed onto the top. Palmer, carrying the flashlight and holding his breath, entered the manway and descended the ladder. He found James lying in the gasoline, ‘which had soaked his clothing. Palmer carried James four feet to the ladder. He held James in front of him and started to ascend the ladder but began to feel dizzy. He lifted James higher, and DeMille took hold of him. Palmer guided James up through the manway as DeMille lifted the boy from the tank. Feeling faint, Palmer quickly climbed out of the tank and gulped fresh air. He then administered mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to James, who began to breathe in about a minute. James was removed to a hospital suffering burns from the gasoline. He recovered.
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