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Looking back: 7-year-old saves siblings from burning home and Pocatello hit with unexpected April snowstorm

Looking Back

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IDAHO FALLS — EastIdahoNews.com is looking back at what life was like during the week of April 25 to May 1 in east Idaho history.

1900-1925

BLACKFOOT – A 12-year-old boy died after being struck by lightning, the Blackfoot Idaho Republican reported on April 30, 1915.

Rex Novas, son of Mr. and Mrs. W. M. Novas, and Nathan Twiggs, son of Mr. and Mrs. John Twiggs, were on their way home from school when lightning struck.

“Both boys were prostrated by the shock,” the local paper explained.

Twiggs “recovered sufficiently to make his way home, leaving his little comrade dead in the road.”

1926-1950

POCATELLO — A Pocatello jet fighter pilot escaped from his burning aircraft, the Idaho State Journal said on May 1, 1950.

Second Lt. Elmore J. Adkins, 23, “pancaked” his “smoke-belching” jet fighter into a salt marsh in California and leaped from the craft as it burst into flames.

“Hundreds of motorists watched him bring the crippled craft down,” the article mentioned. “Firefighters from Hamilton, California, put the fire out before the plane was destroyed.”

Adkins, who was on a practice mission, was uninjured. He said one of his jet engines went out as he was preparing to land.

Adkins was a graduate of Pocatello High School and attended Idaho State College for one year. He was married and had a six-week-old daughter at the time of the accident.

1951-1975

PRESTON — A seven-year-old boy was being called a hero after rescuing his two younger sisters from their flame-engulfed home.

The Preston Citizen said on April 26, 1956, Mrs. Long turned the furnace off the night before and decided to rebuild a fire with kindling. The lighted kindling caused enough heat to ignite the insulated wiring.

At the time the fire broke out, Mrs. Long, her husband and their two older sons were at their barn doing chores. The barn was three blocks away from their home, the paper explained.

Inside the home was seven-year-old Bryan, his five-year-old sister Debbie and three-month-old sister Norita.

“The house filled quickly with smoke and awakened the baby,” the Preston Citizen wrote. “Debbie awakened to the result of her cries and Bryan rushed in and carried the baby out of the house with Debbie following.”

Bryan carried the baby up the road toward the barn where his parents were. As soon as Mrs. Long saw the children, she knew something was wrong and “hurried to meet them.”

Several neighbors carried water from their sinks and bathrooms to try and put the fire out while waiting for the fire department.

“Family members said they are very thankful for the help of neighbors who came to their aid, for the brave deed of their young son … and for the work of the local fire department.”

Fire department officials also commended Bryan for his “brave act.”

1976-2000

POCATELLO — The heaviest April snowstorm in 20 years in Pocatello happened in April 1976, according the Idaho State Journal.

The paper said on April 26, 1976, several inches dumped during the night. The National Weather Service said eight inches fell at its monitoring station at the Pocatello Municipal Airport, but noted the depth in some parts of the city was closer to 12 inches.

The record snowfall for April was 12.5 inches in 1955, the Idaho State Journal mentioned. The snowstorm caught county and state highway departments off guard since winter equipment had been dismantled.

“It just slipped up on us. We were looking for some snow flurries but not a major snow storm,” Bannock County road supervisor Herschel Cates told the paper.

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