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Azusa, CA Jet Plant Explosion, Aug 1946



Azusa, Cal., Aug. 21. -- (AP) -- At least seven persons were killed and more than a score injured today as a terrific explosion of volatile fuels wrecked the Azusa plant of Aero-Jet Engineering Corp.
The blast, originating in a mixing plant, jarred the Los Angeles area, and was felt within a 30-mile radius.
The plant manufactures jet assisted takeoff (JATO) units for Navy aircraft, powerful explosives designed to give heavy bombers and fast fighters additional power on takeoffs by rocket-like thrusts.
Because of the danger attached to manufacture, of its products. Aero-Jet built its plant around several structures instead of into one building. Fire, spreading quickly after the explosion, caused considerable damage to the property.
Sheriff's officers said the seven dead were civilian employes and that there might be other victims in the wreckage. The fire was quelled within an hour, equipment from neighboring cities being prressed into immediate service.
Some of the injured were taken to Monrovia, Temple City and Covina.
Navy officers from the bureau of aeronautics took charge of the plant. Many of the products of the corporation are classified by the armed services as secret.
Officers of the 11th naval district at San Diego said no naval personnel was among those killed but that one Navy man was injured. The Navy sources said the fire started in the mixing room where fuels are prepared for jet engines and spread quickly to other combustibles.

Charleston Gazette West Virginia 1946-08-22

article | by Dr. Radut