Stockton, CA Explosion At Flying School, June 1942


Stockton, June 4. -- (AP) -- An explosion and fire at a building at the Stockton Army Air Corps Advanced Flying School late last night killed ten men and injured fifteen, Lieutenant Colonel LLOYD TULL announced today.
Nine enlisted personnel and TOM SOUZA, senior civilian fireman attached to the school, were burned to death.
They were trapped in the blaze that swept through the building after the explosion.
Fire Chief M. H. BOUCHARD and nine enlisted men suffered serious burns, and five other civilian firemen suffered injuries or burns.
The explosion blasted a building in which the enlisted men were working, and the fire spread rapidly, filling the structure with flames. The blast was at 11:30 P.M. and the civilian firemen attached to the post extinguished the fire by midnight.
Four of the army victims burned to death shortly after the explosion and before the fire was extinguished. Five additional soldiers and SOUZA died shortly after midnight.
Colonel TULL, commanding officer of the flying school, called a military board of inquiry to investigate cause of the explosion and the fire which occurred shortly before midnight last night.
Ten of the injured men, including Chief BOUCHARD, were hospitalized. The condition of five was regarded as critical. Four were in serious condition and the tenth was in "fair" condition.
Next of kin of the army victims have been notified, Colonel TULL said.
Colonel TULL did not say in what type of building the explosion occurred and further details of the blast and fire were withheld pending official investigation.
The Stockton field is used for advanced training of United States Air Corps fliers.
The five injured civilian firemen were identified as:
D. C. CLAYBERGER, Lathrop.
REED BEAM, Stockton.
Calls went out in all Stockton hospitals for serum, blood plasma and other medical supplies. Doctors and nurses from Stockton hospitals responded to an emergency call from the Stockton field hospital.
A special consignment of blood plasma was rushed to the air field from San Francisco, eighty five miles distant. The plasma was sent by car with a state highway patrol escort as far as Dublin, where it was transferred to another car from Stockton.
The injured were treated at the field hospital under direction of Lieutenant Colonel JOHN L. GALLAGHER, the post surgeon.
Private ERVIN R. SCHUMACHER, 25, Antelope, Neb. (Father, William H. Schumacher, Antelope.)
Corporal LLOYD WISBEY, 23, Winlock, Wash. (Father, Oliver Wisbey, Winlock.)
Private DWIGHT P. SCHEARER, 23, Merriam, Neb. (Father, Abram Schearer, Merriam.)
Private DONALD E. ENSIGN, 20, El Cerrito, Calif. (Mother Mrs. Ruth Ensign, El Cerrito.)
Private PORTER WHITAKER, JR., 22, 797 Vienna Street, San Francisco. (Mother, Mrs. Ivy Mae Whitaker, San Francisco.)

Stockton, June 4. -- (IP) -- The list of dead in today's explosion and fire at the Stockton air corps advanced training school include:
TOM SOUZA, Stockton, senior civilian fireman attached to the post.
Private LEWIS BREASEACO, Stockton.
Private KENNETH A. ZELLARS, Bartlett, Kansas. (Mother, Mrs. Lizzie Zellars, Bartlett.)
Private CHRLES G. MASSINGILL, Wilson, N.C. (Mother, Mrs. Beatrice Massingill, Wilson.)
Sergeant ROBERT A. SMITH, 21, Davis, Calif., (Mother, Mrs. Bessie Smith, Davis.)

The Medesto Bee and News Herald California 1942-06-04