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Father's quick action saves buried son

Father’s quick action saves buried son

June 5, 1946: An oil drum – with ends cut off – is placed around Robert Fields, 18, to protect him from collapsing sand in newly excavated cesspool in Los Nietos.

Fields was originally buried over his head, but quick action by his father saved him.

A short article in the next morning’s Los Angeles Times explained:

The youth was helping his father, W. K. Fields, a cesspool contractor, sink the hole. As he labored at the bottom of the hole, the sand sides caved in, trapping him in a standing position.

The elder Fields frantically reached for a garden hose and thrust it down into the sand so his son could grasp the end in his lips and gulp air….

Engine Co. No. 40, of the County Fire Department, directed by Capt. Earl Dorning, later provided young Fields with an air mask which he wore as the sand was being dug away from his body. Finally, he grasped a steel cable from a winch used in building the cesspool and was hauled free of the sucking sand trap.

The photo by former staff photographer Paul Calvert was published in the June 6, 1946, Los Angeles Times.

Los Nietos is located between Whittier and Pico Rivera.

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