Fowler, CA Fire Jan 1941

Carnegie Hero Award Given Posthumously To Lone Oak Negro

PITTSBURGH, Pa., Oct. 31 (AP).--The Carnegie Hero Fund Commission Friday awarded a bronze medal to the father of a Lone Oak (Texas) Negro who died Jan. 19, 1941, while attempting to save an aged Chinese farm hand from death in a burning Fowler (Calif.) building.

The father is Willie R. Russell. The son was Lorenie R. Russell, 30; the Chinese, Goon Loong, 85.

The commission's citation said: "At night while Russell and Goon were in adjoining rooms in a one-story frame building, fire started in Goon's room. Russell ran to another building near by and asked a man to aid him in getting Goon out.

"Telling the man to hurry, he ran to an outside door of Goon's room, which was open, and entered. Flames were rising from the floor to the ceiling near the doorway.

"The door which was equipped with a spring, then closed and became locked by means of a peculiar locking arrangement. Russell and Goon called for help. A man tried to push the door open but could not.

"The roof then fell in, and flames rose ten to fifteen feet above the room. Russell and Goon were burned to death."

Dallas Morning News, Dallas, TX 31 Oct 1942