Clanton, AL Gas Explosion On Bus, Oct 1941

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GAS EXPLOSION SAID CAUSE OF RIDERS' DEATHS.

ALABAMA PASSENGER BUS TRAGEDY KILLS AT LEAST 15 PERSONS.

Clanton, Ala. Oct. 27 (AP) -- A gasoline explosion which sent flaming spray over a crowded Montgomery-Birmingham passenger bus was blamed today for the deaths of at least 15 persons, most of them burned beyond recognition.
Seven others are in a Clanton Hospital, two with critical burns. PARRISH AULTMAN, Birmingham, the driver, died of his burns early today.
Coroner J. Mell Martin said three other dead have been tentatively identified as:
WILLIAM D. DAVIS, Troy, Ala.
ALONZO RENFROE, Banks, Ala.
ALTON B. YATES, Union Springs, Ala.
All were youths from south Alabama enroute to a Civilian Conservation Corps camp here.
The bus struck the concrete railing of a bridge four miles south of here last night. Almost instantly it was a mass of flames, the blaze being visible for three miles or more.
Hardie Jones, carpenter who lives 100 yards from the scene, ran out to see AULTMAN, the driver, tumble from the bus, dragging a man by the arm.
"The driver went back into the bus," Jones said,
"and came out with some more people. His clothing was on fire, and he ran to the roadside. We cut his clothes off and sent him to the hospital."
AULTMAN made the trip last night as a substitute for Robert Johnson of Montgomery, who arranged the change to have the night off.
Mac Stephens, another witness, said cars gathered quickly after the crash and explosion, and horrified spectators heard screams of the victims. Stephens quoted AULTMAN as saying the bus caught fire just before it struck the bridge railing, although the explosion came after the crash.
Sides of the smoking wreck were red from heat when state highway patrolmen arrived. Most of the dead were in a mass near the rear seats.
C. V. Courson, Montgomery manager for southeastern Greyhound lines, said 27 to 30 persons were on the bus, the second section of a three-bus local run between the Alabama cities.
He listed those in the hospital as:
WILLIAM F. PENN, Clanton, CCC enrollee, serious.
Private OTIS LUNSFORD, Westville, Fla, enroute to Fort Oglethorpe, Ga., serious.
CHRIS CRUMPLER, Enterprise, Ala., slightly burned.
ROBERT SCROGGINS, Birmingham, slightly burned.
SAM TERRY and MAYLENE TERRY, Birmingham, not serious.
ROBERT TAYLOR, Birmingham, not serious.

Panama City News Herald Florida 1941-10-27