Taft, CA Gas Main Explosion, Nov 1926


R. J. HASKELL, 30, field superintendent for Midway Gas Company of Taft, is dead and A. J. CALKINS, 25, of Taft, a garage foreman and welder fot the company, is in a Bakersfield hospital, seriously injured as the result of an explosion of a gas main at Monolith Portland Company's plant near Tehachapi.
Both men were engaged in making final tests of a six-inch gas main, which is a portion of Midway Gas Company's $350,000 project to serve the Sierra mountain regions and Tehachapi and Monolith with natural gas.
Without warning a defective length of pipe burst with a detonation that rocked Monolith and was heard at Tehachapi, three miles away.
Fragments of steel showered HASKELL, and the explosion hurled him 20 yards, it is said. He died an hour later upon being rushed to Bakersfield. Death was caused, says Dr. Hugh W. Bell, attending surgeon, by hemorrhage of the lungs, concussion of the brain, and compound fracture of the left arm.
CALKINS, standing some distance away, was blasted with a shower of sand which tore into his face and eyes. He will live and see again, doctors declare.
The dead man was unmarried, and is survived by a sister in Los Angeles. He was a Scottish Rite Mason. CALKINS is married and a resident of Taft.
Inquest into the death of HASKELL was set for 11 a.m. today. Funeral services of the Masonic lodge will be held at 7:30 o'clock this evening in Flickinger Chapel. The remains will be sent to Los Angeles for interment.
HASKELL had been in the employ of Midway Gas Company for 10 years, and CALKINS for seven years.

Bakersfield Californian 1926-11-15