Blakely, GA Butane Gas Explosion, Jan 1970

BLAST ROCKS TOWN, STARTS RAGING FIRE; 2 DIE, 6 INJURED.

Blakely, Ga. (UPI) -- Two persons were killed and six injured today in a butane gas explosion that knocked out virtually every window in the downtown area, touched off a raging fire, and shook houses 14 miles away.
"It sounded like a jet plane had crashed," said Police Chief Carl Gilbert.
The explosion sent up a huge, white mushroom-shaped cloud and residents of Arlington, Ga., 14 miles away, said their houses shuddered. Small bits of white paper fluttered to the ground in yards a mile from the scene.
Mayor Alex Howell asked the State Patrol to man an around-the-clock watch over the downtown area to prevent looting.
The blast touched off a fire at the Davenport Motor Co. two blocks from the town square. Firefighting units from four nearby towns brought the blaze under control several hours later.
Dead were THOMAS EDWARD DEAL, 36, manager of the Empire Gas Co., and JAMES HERMAN CLARK, 58, assistant manager of the motor company, where the blast occurred.
Two seriously injured victims were admitted to hospitals. Four others were released after treatment.
JERRY LOVE, 21, and GREG REBON, 20, were seriously injured.
Also injured were:
MRS. JACK CLIFTON.
GREG SANTEZ, 22.
GRADY GILBERT, 50.
MRS. NELL CHANDLER.
The blast knocked out major telephone lines, isolating the community for several hours until emergency lines could be set up. The mayor said the blast shattered nearly every window in the downtown area of this town of 5,000.
Authorities said the explosion occurred while DEAL and CLARK were investigating a gas leak at the motor firm where two butane gas trucks were being repaired.
DEAL and CLARK were killed instantly in the blast which scattered debris all over the downtown section and shattered windows in about 75 to 80 businesses.
The motor firm's building was flattened, along with a nearby grocery store and the gas company building.

Press-Courier Oxnard California 1970-01-27