Donald Leroy Johnson

Photo courtesy of the Joshua Brackett Eagle Scout Project
Photo courtesy of the Joshua Brackett Eagle Scout Project

(July 21, 1936 - December 19, 1978)

The Lusk Herald
December 21, 1978

Man dies of smoke inhalation

Donald L. Johnson died of smoke inhalation in an early morning fire this Tuesday that destroyed his Lusk trailer home.

Shortly before six that morning Jim Stallman went to Johnson's home to pick him up for the daily drive they make to Casper where they were working on a Harpool Drilling rig. Thinking Johnson was not up, Stallman reached for the door handle and discovered "it was plumb hot."

"Jim rushed home to call the fire department which he learned had already been notified, and then called," said his brother Chuck Stallman. "We went back to the trailer, the firemen were there and shortly afterwards Jim had to go on to Casper."

Johnson has worked the past two months as a motorman for Stallman.

Lusk Volunteer firemen arrived at the fire scene at approximately 6:00 and entered the burning building searching for people, Fire Chief Vern Modine told The Herald. "The smoke was so dense that our flshlights did not penetrate it at all." It was after the blaze had been extinguished and one side of the trailer removed that Johnson was found "Curled up in a corner on top of the kitchen cabinet."

Cause of the fire is still under investigation. The state fire marshall has been notified, according to Modine.

Chuck Stallman, a personal friend of Johnson, said apparently he had gone from the back bedroom of the trailer, clear to the front where the kitchen is before he was overcome by smoke.

At this writing funeral service was pending. Johnson has a daughter in New Mexico and other relatives in Ft. Collins, Colo.

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