Crossville, IL Propane Gas Explosion, Jan 1952


Crossville, Ill. (AP) -- Two propane gas blasts hurled pieces of a large metal tank into homes over a two-block area last night and killed an elderly widow. Two other persons were injured.
MRS. MAE SLANKARD, about 55, died, either directly from the blast or a fire which demolished her house. Seven other frame houses were damaged badly in this small Southern Illinois town.
Police Chief R. G. Randall said the first blast ripped apart a 500-gallon tank of the gas. A second explosion, less than a minute later, occurred in the SLANKARD house.
Randall said he didn't know what touched off the blasts.
A large section of the tank ripped through Randall's kitchen.
"We didn't have time to think what it could be," Mrs. Randall said. She was in the dining room with her three children. She ran outside where she found Mrs. Charlotte Cox, telephone operator. Both women ran to the nearby telephone office and spread the alarm.
MRS. ALLEN COZART, about 65, was burned critically. Her husband was injured slightly.
The tank belonged to the Rev. C. C. Campbell, Baptist minister. He said he and his family were getting ready for church.
"The first explosion knocked my son Charles against me and almost tipped me over."
They ran outside, uninjured.
The large section of the tank that went through the Randall kitchen flew over two vacant lots, another house, the telephone exchange, and slammed against the second story of another house.

Daily Times-News Burlington North Carolina 1952-01-14