Beverly, MO Prison Explosion, Jan 1979
PRISON BLAST KILLS 6 -- AT BEVERLY, MO.
Beverly, Mo. (UPI) -- Six bodies have been recovered in the wreckage of an explosion that rocked a U.S. penitentiary honor farm, authorities said early Wednesday.
Six men died and four others were injured in the explosion Tuesday that authorities said probably was caused by an accumulation of natural gas, ignited by a torch being used to repair a truck in the building.
The only prison employee killed in the disaster was identified as guard JOHN COOGAN, 51, Rushville, Mo. The five inmates killed were:
FRANK KENNETH SIMMONS, 34, of Keller, Texas.
JUAN O. SOTO, Mexico.
DONALD F. LETELLIER, 43, Independence, Mo.
CANTRELL BLAIR, 28.
Rescue workers using large cranes worked throughout the night in bitter cold and through heavy snow to recover the bodies.
The explosion leveled an entire wing of a building that was being used to repair prison trucks. The explosion caused the concrete floor to collapse through the basement, crushing some of the victims.
Salina Journal Kansas 1979-01-31