Detroit, MI Plastic Plant Explosion, Oct 1961

4 WOMEN KILLED IN PLASTIC PLANT EXPLOSION TODAY.

BODIES ARE COVERED BY FLAMING MATERIAL.

Detroit (AP) -- Four persons were killed and two others injured today in an explosion and fire at the Sparling Plastics Indistries Inc., plant in downtown Detroit.
Three of the dead, all women, were tentatively identified as MISS JOANNE WATSON; MISS OLGA YEFTICH and MISS OMEGA TRAVIS, all of Detroit.
The identity of the fourth victim was not known. Firemen said all of the bodies had been covered by flaming plastic.
Damage to the one-story building was estimated at "more than $50,000" by acting fire chief John J. Burke.
Firemen said the explosion apparently occurred in a large gas-operated steam heating boiler. The blast blew out the rear wall of the plant and sent bricks and debris flying for several hundred feet.
The two injured were identified as DAN CHIPMAN and JACK BRANTLEY. Both were taken to Receiving Hospital in serious condition.
Two men working in the plant escaped injury. They were placing signs on a rack in a room at the rear of the building when the boiler exploded 20 feet away. Both were knocked to the ground.
The firm, which paints plastics, is operated by Robert Sparling, 39, of Detroit.
Sparling, in an adjoining building housing company records when the blast occurred, said:
"It sounded like a huge bomb. There's not much left of the plant."
Sparling said there were approximately 12 persons in the plant when the blast was touched off.
The cause of the blast was not immediately determined.

Daily Globe Ironwood Michigan 1961-10-02