Kenton, TN Tank Truck And Auto Crash, Jan 1959
ONLY 'MIRACLE' STOPPED BLAST AFTER MISHAP.
KENTON AREA CRASH SPILLED 1,000 GALLONS OF NAPHTHENE AT SITE.
Kenton - The three funeral homes in Kenton Wednesday afternoon began the task of sending the bodies of six Cleveland, Tenn., men back to their home town for burial.
The six were victims of a truck-car collision on Rt. 68 about two miles north of here Wednesday morning.
Sheriff's deputies revealed Wednesday night that the accident almost became a worse tragedy. The truck, a tanker vehicle, was loaded with 5,000 gallons of highly explosive naphthene. Deputies said the cold weather apparently prevented an explosion when the car and truck collided.
Only a "miracle" prevented an explosion, officers said. Some 1,000 gallons of the material was spilled on the highway near the crash scene and law officials and other workmen were using burning flares and smoking cigarettes in the area.
A spark dropped into the naphthene could have touched off a blast which would have killed all nearby spectators, deputies said later.
Once Kenton firemen arrived, they quickly put a halt to all smoking and use of flares. Even photographers on the scene were prohibited from using flash bulbs lest a spark ignite the fumes.
The pavement was hosed down for about three hours but firemen stayed on the scene until late Wednesday afternoon just in case the truck should catch fire.
Another truck from the Ansco Gasoline Co., which owned the tanker involved in the accident, arrived later in the day and emptied the damaged truck of its contents.
Charges have not yet been filed against the truck driver, ALBERT F. OHL, 24, of Tiffin, but deputies indicated Wednesday that he will face a count of driving left of center. They said skid marks from his truck were eight feet on the wrong side of the road. The car skidded 100 feet before the collision, deputies said.
Killed in the crash were:
JOHN B. GIBSON, 32, the car's driver;
ROBERT DAVID LEE, 31;
RICHARD EUGENE KELLY, 28;
HORACE BOYD, 24;
FLOYD CLARK, 22;
and HERBERT GOINS, 41.
Deputies said OHL, who was taken to San Antonio Hospital with cuts, abrasions and shock, was still incoherent Wednesday night and unable to be questioned.
The Marion Star Ohio 1959-01-08