Barberton, OH School Building Explosion, June 1939
BROKEN GAS LINE CAUSED EXPLOSION; WRECKED SCHOOL BUILDING AT BARBERTON.
Barberton, O., June 1 -- (AP) -- Investigators exhibited a broken section of gas pipe tonight as their best clue to a terrifying explosion which blew out the walls of a makeshift school building yesterday, injuring 57 persons, three of them critically.
They dug up the severed 1 1/4 inch main nine feet from the shattered two-story frame building, announcing through Fire Chief CLAUDE WITWER that gas apparently seeped into the basement from the break. A formal report will be made later, WITWER said.
As the investigation was completed, two small
"first graders" and a janitor were reported "gaining slightly" although still in critical condition from head and body injuries and burns. They were DOROTHY YOUNG, 6, FRANCIS FARMER, 7, and P. W. WHITE, 59.
Four students suffering minor injuries in the blast were released from hospitals during the day, reducing the list of hospitalized to 27. Among the latter were two teachers, MABELLE MILLER, 38, who suffered a fractured leg; ALBERTINA MILLS, 44, suffering from shock; and three students, ELLA CHAMBERS, 7, MARY MATTINGLY, 7, and RAY CLEMENS, 7. All were described as in "serious" condition, the students with possible skull fractures or internal injuries.
The debris of the eight-room structure which had been converted into a temporary school for first to fifth grade pupils last fall, was examined today by a board of inquiry comprised of inspectors from the state industrial commission, U.S. bureau of mines, state fire marshal's office and city officials.
They conducted a closed city hall hearing during the afternoon, questioning injured students and witnesses, and wound up their investigation without making any report.
The Times Recorder Zanesville Ohio 1939-06-02