Phenix City, AL Gas Explosion, Mar 1976

BLAST DESTROYS ALABAMA FACTORY.

Phenix City, Ala. (AP) - An explosion tore through a clothing factory near the downtown section of this southeast Alabama city on Saturday, killing one person and critically burning five others.
Work crews recovered the body of MARVIN TOLBOT, of nearby Columbus, Ga., Saturday evening after sifting
through the rubble of the Phenix Cutting and Sewing factory, Detective Capt. Robert Clark said.
The building was leveled by the 7 a.m. explosion and fire which burst out immediately afterward.
Officials said four women and one man were critically burned when their clothing caught fire as they fled the building. The injured were flown to the Brooke Army Medical Center burn unit in San Antonio, Tex., for treatment, according to police.
Fire Marshal Donald Ivy said TOLBOT had climbed a stack of rolled cloth to investigate the ceiling in the factory's basement just before the explosion. He said one of the injured workers told him the ceiling appeared to be falling in during a thunderstorm and when TOLBOT began to examine it, "gas started spewing everywhere and they all yelled for everybody to get out of the building."
The cause of the blast was undetermined. A pipeline specialist from the National Transportation Safety Board was called in to investigate.

Panama City News Herald Florida 1976-03-28

Transcriber's Update.
Two of six burn victims of an industrial explosion in Phenix City, Ala. died Thursday in the Brooke General Hospital Burn Center at Ft. Sam Houston.
Both had been in critical condition since being admitted Saturday.
PAULETTE STOKES, 21, had third degree burns over 90 per cent of her body. JESSE CHAMBERS, 27, had second and third degree burns over 95 percent of his body.
Three others remain in critical condition at the burn center, a spokesman said. One man died outright in the early morning explosion of a gas main under the clothing factory where the victims worked.