Burlington, IA Ordnance Plant Explosion, June 1958



Burlington (AP) -- The death toll rose to four Thursday in a shell-loading line explosion at the Iowa Ordnance plant here.
Two men died in the early morning hours of injuries suffered in the blast late Wednesday afternoon. Two employes had met instant death in the explosion and another was injured.
Investigation into the cause of the accident was under way.
Killed outright in the blast on the production line of the plant which loads 106-millimeter shells were MRS. DELORES MARLETTE, 40, and MAX BELL, 22, both of Fort Madison.
Two others died early Thursday at Mercy Hospital. They were DONALD SCOTT, 22, of near Mount Pleasant, and RAY BARROW, 28, of New London.
Also hospitalized was CARROLL COSBY, 26, Burlington, who was not seriously injured. He was reported in good condition.
Lt. Rodney Lewis, executive officer of the plant, said a committee would investigate the cause of the explosion which came about 4:10 p.m. Wednesday when employes on the production line were changing shifts.
Due to the hour and the change of shifts there were not many empoyes in the area of the blast which blew off part of the roof and broke windows. Damage was estimated at $40,000.
Lewis said a section of the plant where atomic materials are stored for the Atomic Energy Commission was a considerable distance away from the blast area.
The brick and cement building is so constructed that an explosion in one area is localized.
Lewis said the blast on the production line occurred during a chamber-gauging operation in which shells are measured for the caliber of the guns they are to fit.

Mason City Globe Gazette Iowa 1958-06-19