Barksdale, WI Explosives Plant Blast, Oct 1952

Barksdale Wis former DUPONT site


Barksdale, Wis., Oct. 15 - (UP) - Eight workmen were killed today when two terrific pre-dawn explosions, followed by fire, leveled two buildings at a DuPont commercial explosives plant here.

Barksdale, Wis., Oct. 15 (UP) - Two workmen were killed and six others were missing and feared dead in two explosions which rocked a DuPont explosives plant here early today.
Coroner Alvin Bratley identified one of the victims as ED CUDMORE, a veteran employee at the plant. The other body was not identified immediately.
Brantley and plant officials searched the smoldering wreckage of the nitromex production building for other possible victims.
DuPont officials here said they did not know what caused the explosions and subsequent fire. They extimated the damage at more than $78,000 and said one building was destroyed.
B. E. Semb, plant manager, accompanied by a Catholic priest and a Protestant pastor, visited the homes of six men unaccounted for, notifying their relatives.
Hundreds of persons lined the fence bordering the plant. Only officials were allowed inside.
The first explosion smashed a building housing nitromex producing equipment at 2:50 a.m.
A raging fire immediately followed the explosion. The heat was so intense that firefighters had difficulty approaching the flames.
Sheriff Joseph H. Demars said that "I understand that six men were right in the building." He said the plant gates were barred and that he could not enter to investigate the mishap.
A second blast shook the chemical works a few minutes later Semb said.
The first shock was so severe that it shattered about two thirds of the windows on the main street of nearby Ashland, Wis., residents said.
Ashland is about seven miles across Chequamegon Bay in Lake Superior from Barksdale.
Semb said that about 50 men were on duty in the DuPont plant, which produces commercial explosives. However, he added that most of them were probably at work in buildings other than the nitromex division.
Newsmen were barred from the plant. The company was fighting the blaze with its own fire department.
The plant employs a total of 300 workers but only the night shift was on duty at the time of the blast.
The last explosion at the Barksdale works occurred in the late 1920's and killed two men.

The Republic Columbus Indiana 1952-10-15