New London, TX School Explosion, Mar 1937

New London TX School after explosion 3.jpg After The Blast New London TX School before explosion a.JPG New London TX School after explosion 2.jpg New London TX School after explosion.jpg New London TX School after explosion 4.jpg New London TX School after explosion 5.jpg

Outside a lot of kids were lying around on the ground. I believe most of them there were alive. They had jumped just like I did. A few of us boys went back into what was the building and helped get some of the others out. All the kids I saw in there had tiny cuts or were dead. Most of them were dead.

An Eighth Grade Student
I was standing by my desk in the eighth grade room when the explosion came. I can't tell exactly how I felt - “ the feeling was too queer.
Suddenly there was a dead silence. Then I heard a noise and was thrown up into the air. I saw other boys and girls thrown up into the air. Some of them were screaming. Some were knocked down.
I saw a lot of arms and legs being thrown all around.
Then I went unconscious.
When I came to a man was standing over me, looking at me. He raised me up and I saw I was about 200 yards from what was the building.
I looked around. All about me were other children. Some of them were dead. Some were hurt. They were crying and screaming. People were running. Nearly everybody was hollering or screaming.
It was awful. It made me sick and I lost consciousness again.
When I came to things were a bit quieter but folks still were shouting. A lot of mothers and fathers were crying. There was a little bit of smoke. I don't know where it came from. Men were crawling all over the wreckage.
I was lucky. I wasn't hurt much.

Bits of Pathos in Texas School Blast

By the Associated Press
DALLAS - Coffin-makers were swamped with orders for medium sized caskets in which to bury victims of the New London Consolidated School tragedy.

NEW LONDON - The name of ALVIN GERDES, no stranger to print, appeared again today but it drew no cheers - only bowed heads. Hero of the District Champion London Football Team and considered a brilliant college prospect, he was one of the blast victims.

DALLAS -“ Hundreds of dosages of anti-tetanus serum were sped to the blast scene. Physicians said it was needed badly because of the danger of lock jaw developing from wounds of the injured.

DURANT, Okla. -- "It's terrible," said MRS. FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT, and an expression of dismay spread over her face when news of the tragedy reached her.

WILLS POINT, Tex. -- JESSE COUCH, 36, was one of the thousands who hurried to the blast scene by motor car. He was killed in a collision near Tyler.

NEW LONDON - Scores of parents were attending a Parent-Teacher Association meeting 200 yards from the High School Building when they heard the roar. They rushed screaming into a blinding dust fog toward the debris. Their children were under the felled brick ans steel.

NEW LONDON -- "Ten seconds more and I would have been in a part of the building where everyone was killed," said F. F. WAGGONER, principal of the nearby elementary school. "I never want to enter another school building."

OVERTON - Bodies were placed on cots here in a building formerly used as a skating rink. While frantic parents moved from cot to cot a sign overhead read: "Gentlemen will please remove hats while skating."

NEW LONDON - Only a few hours after the explosion came this cable:
Our sincere sympathy. (signed) Kanto Commercial School, Tokio, Japan.
Another from Maracaibo, Venezuela, inquired for the safety of two grandchildren enrolled in the school.

NEW LONDON -- Two nights ago GEORGE M. DAVIDSON, oil field driller and war time hero, visualized tragedy in a dream.
Thursday morning before breakfast he told members of his crew about the dream. They warned it was an ill omen to relate dream tragedies before the morning meal.
Ten hours later he stumbled into an Overton morgue and identified three bodies as those of his two daughters and a son: ANNA LAURA, 11, HELEN, 13, and JOE WHEELER, 15.

Steady Rain Beating Down On Death-Filled Debris

NEW LONDON, March 19 (U.P.) -- A steady rain beat down today on the debris of the New London Consolidated School that hides the fate of scores of children unaccounted for in the terrific explosion of yesterday.
Oil field huskies move through the wreckage, filling dump trucks with the battered rock and tile and twisted steel. Occasionally, a lifted stone reveals another victim. When such is the case a shout goes up and a sentry calls out.'
One of the many doctors aiding in the rescue work goes to the scene. Quickly puts his hand under the rock while the overalled workers hold it clear. Too often the doctor shakes his head and stands back. Then a sentry calls:
"Stretcher here. Stretcher and a crane."
That means another body, another name to the death list, already the longest in school disaster.

Continued on page 3


The odor additive was

The odor additive was available at the time, but it was optional, and carried an additional charge. The school, for the sake of economy, was getting raw, odorless gas straight from the field.
You are correct that this incident led to the passing of the law that mandated the addition of the odor to natural gas.

Gas odor

Natural gas didn't have any odor or color until TX Leg. passed a law after this explosion. Page 1 and/or 2.