Kokomo, IN Grain Elevator Explosion, Feb 1976


Komomo, Ind. (UPI) -- A spark from a welder's torch apparently touched off an explosion and a fire at a grain company in which one person was killed and three others injured Wednesday.
The explosion ripped the Kokomo Grain and Feed Co. along U.S. 35 on the city's west side at the rush hour. About 50 firemen, some coming from their homes where they were off duty, responded to the general alarm blaze.
Killed when he was thrown 60 feet by the initial blast at the facility was WILLIAM H. WATKINS, 50, Michigantown, a welder for the Stahl Welding Co. of Kokomo.
A coworker of WATKINS, DONALD M. HINKLE, 23, Sharpsville, suffered burns and was hospitalized. Also injured and hospitalized was DAVID K. SPESARD, 20, Shelbyville, Ill., a trucker who was struck by metal ripped from the storage bins by the blast.
Fireman WILLIAM M. STOOKSBURY of Kokomo suffered a broken finger, but was not hospitalized.
Investigators said a second explosion followed the initial blast which killed WATKINS as the fire spread to two of the half dozen grain elevators. They added that the blasts apparently resulted from a spark from a torch the welders were using to make repairs. The spark touched off grain dust, they said.
Officials for the grain company estimated damage at $200,000.
Rush hour traffic was rerouted for the more than two hours that it took firemen to bring the flames under control and complete cleanup operations.
Officials added that some windows as much as a mile away were shappered by the blasts.

Logansport Pharos-Tribune and Press Indiana 1976-02-26


I, David K Spesard, was an

I, David K Spesard, was an Electronics Technician. I was burned slightly by the blast from a manhole I was standing next to. I was treated and released at the hospital.