Natchitoches, LA Gas Pipeline Explosion, Mar 1965


9 Victims Children; 2 Or 3 Missing

NATCHITOCHES, La. (AP) - A natural gas pipeline exploded in a residential area near here early today, sending billowing flames hundreds of feet into the sky. Seventeen persons, including nine children, were killed.

Authorities said two or three other children were unaccounted for. At least nine persons were taken to a hospital, but their injuries were not believed to be serious.

A deputy sheriff said the dead and injured were residents of the neighborhood, just across Louisiana Highway 1 from the country club.

THE BLAST, occurring 150 yards behind a row of frame houses, created a crater 15 feet deep, 75 feet long and 30 feet wide. Flames from escaping gas soared upward 400 feet or more before Tennessee Gas Transmission Co. workmen cut off the flow of gas.

CHARLES CUNNINGHAM, publisher of the weekly Natchitoches Enterprise, lives in the vicinity of the explosion. He said the blast looked like a bolt of lightning.

"Then there was a rumble like thunder," he said. "I thought perhaps it was thunder or a sonic boom. Then I went to the window and saw the flames."

The explosion occurred about 6 a. m.

State police estimated damages from the blast and accompanying fire at more that $1 million.

FIVE HOUSES were leveled, with furnishings scattered over 15 to 20 acres. Six cars and three trucks, were turned into molten metal by the intense heat. A nearby sawmill was damaged.

Rescue workers, moving into the area after the flow of gas was stopped, found the body of MRS. WILLIAM E. AMMONS, about 25, in a ditch across the highway and about 60 feet from her house. Her baby daughter's body was lying in the road about 50 feet from the house.

Her husband and three other children escaped with minor burns.

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My Uncle Jack

Im the nephew of Jack Van Meter and am curious to know about him. Any info ,stories or photos please share.
Thank you

my grand pall and grand mall

thay were my dads mom and dad i think be cuzz of this my dad had a hole kind of out look on life and my life as well just what ifthay had not got killllled dont get me wrong i had a good child hood fhishing and hunting with my dad and learing how to live off the land but what if i wood had my grand parnts to tech me the way of the land as well so that thaugh haunts me just what if i well never know be cuzz there lifes were taken from me and so minney outhers over lnp pipe line lnp are post to take care of the plot mow and keep it looking good me and my brouthere went to see the plot and it was a miss i can not spell good hope you can read this tere were trees growed up all a round it weeds me and my brauthere went and got chain saw mower weed eater and clean it up you wood think with all the millons of dollers that the make thay can get some one to keep it looking good i wish thay wood keep there word thay keep my grand parnts thank about it your grand son kevin rond

Natchitoches, LA Gas Pipeline Explosion, Mar 1965

A day forever imprinted in my mind. I was knocked from my bed early in the morning, ran outside, the sky was all red with a large mushroom cloud to the West. My first impression was a nuclear bomb had gone off. Went back inside the house and turned on the radio. Later learned it was a gas pipeline explosion. My distance from the explosion was 2.3 miles and the noise was very loud. This was only three years since the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Cold War was still foremost in my thoughts. Barksdale AFB was 70 miles to the NW and England AFB was 50 miles to the SE. I remember thinking how lucky we all were it was not a nuclear explosion. My sister, brother, and parents were okay but shaken and thankful.

My Uncle Jack was a baptist

My Uncle Jack was a baptist preacher In the 1960's Natchitoches Louisiana.
1965 47 years ago He and his whole family were lost in a Gas Pipeline Explosion. My cousin Craig Van Meter survived because he was in Baton Rouge that night.
During my Hurricane Katrina exile I find myself in Natchitoches and finally met up with Craig. the last time we saw each other he said is when I a baby. I did visit the graves of My uncle , aunt and 3 girl cousins. Paying my respect to Uncle Jack and family this day.

friend killed in Natchitoches explosion

I went to school in Natchitoches from seventh grade until tenth and moved away in 1954. During the time I lived there I lived near Pat Antley and we became good friends. My Father worked for Tennesee Gas and we moved to Kentucky with the company. I lost track of people I knew but had heard that one of my friends was killed in the explosion. I got on the internet and found that Pat married Jack Van Meter and they and their 3 children were killed in the explosion. Pat was dating Jack when I moved away and married some time after I left. I was so sad to read the list and to know that Pat, her mother, her husband and 3 children had all perished. Virginia Imhoff Blocher

My Mother's Recollection

My mother witnessed this event from across Sibley Lake, five miles away, and she recalled, "I thought the world was coming to an end."

Louise Gilcrease was my

Louise Gilcrease was my grandfather that I never rec'd the opportunity to know him. I was just a little over a year old. My mother remembers this day very well. We lost alot of our relatives and it changed many peoples lives forever...