Burlington, IA Arms Plant Explosion, Mar 1942

Burlington IOWA 3-5-1942 explosion 1.jpg Burlington IOWA 3-5-1942 explosion 2.jpg

TREMENDOUS BLAST ROCKS BURLINGTON ARMS PLANT; 15 KILLED, 42 INJURED.

3-STORY TNT MELT UNIT IS DESTROYED.

CONCUSSION FELT AT FORT MADISON 20 MILES DISTANT; FLAMES LEAP 300 FEET IN AIR -- SECOND BLAST WITHIN THREE MONTHS.

Burlington, Ia. (AP) -- Fifteen persons were dead and six others were missing today following a terrific blast at the Iowa Ordnance plant here last night. Forty-two persons were hospitalized after the explosion and others suffered minor injuries. Plant officials identified fifteen bodies recovered but declined to release the names of those listed as missing.

Burlington, Ia. (AP) -- An earth rocking blast that jarred the country-side for twenty-miles around, killing at least sixteen workmen and injured forty-two others shortly before midnight last night at the Iowa ordnance plant.
The explosion which demolished a three-story brick and steel building housing a TNT melt unit in the shell loading plant was the second in less than three months for the sprawling 20,000-acre munitions factory. A similar blast, Dec. 12, claimed the lives of thirteen workmen.
Major J. H. Edgerly, chief of production control, said the disaster was due to an explosion of amatol, a mixture of ammonium nitrate and TNT.
Coroner R. O. Giles said an exact count of the dead still was difficult partly because of the mangled condition of some of the bodies.
He asserted fifteen and possibly sixteen bodies had been removed and he had a report two more had been found but a crane would be required to free them.
Day and Zimmerman, Incorporated, operators of the plant, listed the following identified dead:
PEARL CLIFFORD CARVER, 37, Mt. Pleasant, Ia.
HARTZELL POPEJOY, 36, Fairfield, Ia.
HAROLD KLONTZ, 22, Ollie, Ia.
KENNETH N. VAN SICKLE, 24, Rock Island, Illinois.
ANDREW JACQUES VOORHEES, 33, Rariton, Illinois.
WILLIAM BUFORD ENGLAND, 23, Clousa, Illinois.
HERSCHEL H. GODDARD, 30, Oskaloosa, Ia.
HAROLD R. WYATT, 27, Keokuk, Ia.
R. L. MURRAY, 45, Cedar Rapids, Ia.
LAWRENCE, GREINER, 29, Keota, Ia.
CLYDE HUGHES, Cincinnati, Ia.
A blaze which followed the explosion was put out by the plants fire department.
Witnesses said the explosion was accompanied by a sheet of flames 300 feet high and a terrific roar that resounded through Burlington, five miles from the plant, and surrounding countryside.
The concussion was felt at Ft. Madison, Ia., twenty miles away.
The disaster occurred when shifts were being changed. About fifty men were in the building.
Colonel Otto M. Jank, commanding officer, said other production lines continued operations and the explosion would not interfere greatly with the operation of the plant save for the production line concerned.

Daily Times Herald Carroll Iowa 1942-03-05

Comments

Andrew Jacques Voorhees was

Andrew Jacques Voorhees was my paternal grandfather. His loss is still felt in my family. My father was 9 when he was killed in this explosion. My grandmother Kathryn Matheny Voorhees died 6 months later due to her health giving out trying to take care of my father and my Aunt Lois after my grandfather's tragic death. I can not begin to imagine what the men in that plant went through that night, but I know that they were men who went to work in a place known to have safety issues because they were willing to risk their lives for their country. Brave men and a tragic loss to everyone who knew them!

Pearl Carver was my grandpa

Pearl Carver was my grandpa on my dad's side