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Alton, IL Refinery Explosion, June 1926

THREE KILLED IN ALTON OIL BLAST

Alton, Ill., June 15 -- Three men were killed and six injured, one perhaps fatally, in an explosion at the Wood River refinery of the Standard Oil Company (Indiana) near here, yesterday.
The dead are:
JOSEPH LUPPENS of Wood River.
FRANK GIRARD of Wood RIver.
And Unidentified Man.
The injured are:
HARRY KINGERY, condition critical.
D. E. HUFF, condition serious.
A. W. BRANDT, Alton, conditon serious.
Three others.
All the injured were brought to St. Joseph's hospital here.

The Lake Country Times Hammond Indiana 1926-06-15

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FOUR MEN KILLED, FIVE INJURED, IN REFINERY BLAST.

EXPLOSION, CAUSE OF WHICH IS UNKNOWN, OCCURS IN LIQUID ASPHALT MIXING TANK OF PLANT.

Alton, Illinois, June 14. -- (AP) -- Four men were killed and five injured in an explosion and fire at the refinery of the Standard Oil Company of Indiana at Wood River, near here, today. According to a statement by company officials, the explosion, the cause of which is unknown, occurred in the liquid ashpalt mixing tank. A pitch still nearby was ignited where were employed the men killed or injured.
The dead:
JOSEPH LUPPENS, 25, Wood River.
FRANK M. GIRARD, 26, Wood River.
WILLIAM H. KOEHNE, 25, Wood River.
HENRY KINGERY, 25, East Alton.
The injured:
BERT E. HUFF, 24, Wood River.
HAROLD R. BRYANT, 21, Wood River.
ALCIDE BRANDT, 31, Upper Alton.
Two other men -- R. MOORE and C. PELAN -- both of Wood River, were injured and given first aid treatment at the plant. The other four are at St. Joseph's hospital here. The men killed and injured, it was said at the office and of the Standard Oil Company, were employed on a pipe line close by the pitch stillls. The bodies of the men killed were burned so badly that identification was difficult.
Investigation by company officials following the tragedy revealed that gas apparently had escaped from one of the petroleum stills and that extraordinary atmospheric conditions had permitted it to collect close to the ground.
The gas was ignited by fire beneath one of the stills, and the resulting explosion and swirl of flames burned almost beyond recognition the four men working on the still.
One of them, WILLIAM H. KOEHNE, 25, of Wood River, a helper on one of the pitch stills, was responsible for detecting escaping gas, C. B. Manndeck, superintendent of the plant said, and with KOEHNE'S death the chance for discovering the immediate cause of the explosion was lost.
"Outside gas explosions are very rare," Manndeck said. "Unusual atmospheric conditions must have prevailed to permit saturation of the air by the gas."
KOEHNE was leaving his still when the explosion occurred, on his way to shut off the steam pump which forces the liquid into the still.

Joplin Globe Missouri 1926-06-15



article | by Dr. Radut