Abilene, TX Creamery Fire, May 1936

Snatches Gasoline From Fire, Saves 5; May Lose Own Life

Hero of Abilene Blaze Is Burned Critically, but Prevents Blast

ABILENE, Texas, May 31 (AP). - An attempt of C. R. Driskill, 50, chief engineer for the Banner Creamery, to carry a bucket of gasoline from a flaming pump pt in an engineering plant Sunday probably saved the lives of five other men but may cost him his own. He is in a hospital in a critical condition from burns covering most of his body.

Four other men were burned; C. A. Morris, 30; Walter Archibald, 24; Walter Cox and Roy L. Atkinson. Archibald's burns on the legs and shoulders were considered serious. The fifth man, Horace Brown, was unhurt.

The accident occurred when the men were installing a propeller in a water pump for a cooling system. As they washed bearings in a two-gallon bucket of gasoline, one of the men struck a match. Oil on top of the waste water covering the floor caught fire. Driskill started up the stairway out of the fifteen-foot pit with the bucket.

His oily trousers legs caught fire and at the top he stumbled. Flaming gasoline bathed his clothing and the door caught fire. The other men were injured as they came out through the door. Brown escaped by climbing up a ladder on a tank and swinging to an opening in the top of the building. Cox attempted to emulate the feat but failed and had to leave through the blazing door.

The fire was extinguished with only slight damage.

The Dallas Morning News, Dallas, TX, 1 Jun 1936