Waco, GA Automobile And Truck Collision, June 1971



Waco, Ga. (UPI) -- A small foreign car collided with a trailer truck hauling 20,000 pounds of dynamite and low-grade explosives Friday night, sparking a "blockbuster bomb" blast that swept away spectators, cars and nearby houses. Five persons were killed and at least 35 others injured.
Highway patrolmen threw a protective ring around a 100-foot wide by 20-foot deep crater in U.S. Highway 78 until Army demolition teams could clear the area by daylight.
The explosion severed the two-lane blacktop road, the main thoroughfare from Atlanta to Birmingham, Ala., and touched off woods fires for a quarter-mile. The shock wave collapsed the roof of a school gymnasium where 200 persons were attending a gospel song fest.
The truck driver, A. W. FIELDING, 50, of Birmingham, foresaw a possible disaster when flames erupted after the collision of the Volkswagen with his truck shortly after 8 p.m. EDT. "Get back, there are explosives on the truck, they may go off," he screamed at persons who began to crowd around the wreck. Some onlookers heeded the warning and survived the explosion that came several minutes later.
The truck, owned by the Baggett Trucking Co. of Birmingham, was carrying 10,000 pounds of dynamite and 10,000 pounds of a low-grade explosive called "slurry" from Birmingham to a granite quarry in North Carolina.
Fire set off dynamite caps which ignited the explosives.
"It just blew down the onlookers," said Deputy Sheriff Gene Kirk. "And the biggest part of the truck I could find was a wheel."
The Volkswagen disintegrated along with its driver, TALMADGE L. "SKINNY" ADAMS of Waco.
Also killed were a wrecker driver, CLEVE HEATH, of Bremen, and a Bremen fireman, DAVID L. SMITH. Other victims were TROY F. ALLEN and DOYAL T. BELL, 31, both of Waco.
Cars were blown off the road like crumpled toys. Several nearby houses were demolished. Trees were snapped like broken toothpicks.
"It looked like it just swept everything away," said IVEY CHANDLER, who was sitting in his yard when the collision occurred. CHANDLER a World War II veteran, said the explosion "sounded like a blockbuster bomb."
Fortunately, the shock only loosened the roof of the gymnasium, where a gospel sing was being held to raise funds for a needy family, and the 200 persons inside got out safely before it collapsed.

Bucks County Courier Times Doylestown Pennsylvania 1971-06-05