I went to a small school. There were about 30 of us who went from 1st through 8th grade together, so we felt very much like a family. We were in seventh grade , most of us around 12 years old, when this terrible event happened.
It was May 1st, Mayday, and we had a school holiday. Mike and Leonard, my classmates, decided to have an adventure. They wanted to see what would happen if they lighted a small line of gasoline – how fast would it shoot from one end to the other? How bright would it be? How noisy? But, of course, they didn’t want to be seen trying this, so they decided to experiment in a storm drain, an enclosed large tunnel beneath the street.
They lifted up the manhole cover and descended the small ladder into the drain. They walked several paces into the darkness, and then started pouring a thin stream of gasoline along the floor of the drain as the crept back toward the opening. Mike struck a match and tossed it toward the end of the gasoline strip. The gas immediately erupted AND the flame jumped to the oily exterior of the gas can, which exploded into a huge fireball.
They were right below the opening. Leonard scrambled up quickly, unharmed… and then realized Mike was not right behind him. Seeing nothing but fire and smoke below, Leonard went back down and was able to drag Mike up out of the flames, saving his life. Somehow, when needed, he had found the courage and strength he needed to risk his life to rescue his friend.