Fontana, CA Kaiser Steel Mills Explosion, Dec 1942

Blasts Damage Kaiser Steel Mills

Explosions of Butane Gas Cause Loss of $75,000 Near Fontana

San Bernardino, Dec. 25. Fire caused by exploding butane gas today caused estimated $75,000 damage at the Kaiser steel mill near Fontana but is not expected to delay the start of production scheduled for Dec. 30.

The butane gas was being transferred from truck tankers to three 10,000 gallon storage tanks this afternoon when a hose connection snapped. The three workmen on the scene told T.M. Price, superintendent of construction at the mill, that they expected an explosion and fled.

Blasts Destroy Vehicles

They had barely reached a point of refuge when a series of explosions took place. The blasts were so heavy that wreckage was thrown 500 feet, destroying the three storage tanks, two trucks, an automobile and causing other damage.

The butane in the storage tanks was to have been used to start operations at the mill now under construction.

Heard For Miles

However, Price said that he expects all damage to be repaired in a few days. After the mill gets under way gas generated from the coke ovens will be sufficient to replace the butane.

The blast could be heard for miles. Residents of Fontana believe a major disaster had taken place at the plant and rush calls were made to the offices of the Sheriff and Coroner.

Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles, CA 26 Dec 1942