Amarillo, TX Factory Explosion, Mar 1971


Two Amarillo men were injured severely about 10:15 a.m. today when a flash explosion heavily damaged a work shed at the Linde Division, Union Carbide Corp. Plant, 315 N. Philadelphia.
The injured were WILLIAM J. C. MURRAY, 55, of 3611 Patterson, superintendent of the Amarillo plant, and ROBERT STONE, 52, of 203 S. Prospect.
They were reported in serious condition at noon today at Northwest Texas Hospital.
The attending physicians said the men were deafened from the blast and suffered first, second and third degree burns on the lower portions of their bodies.
The blast, which occurred in a shed housing a compressor, was heard more than a mile away on the Dumas Expressway, police said.
The force of the explosion tore clothes off one of the men, said witnesses, and blew out panels of the building's north and west walls.
Employees at the scene told police the explosion may have been caused by a leak in a pipe.
An estimate of damages to the building and equipment had not been announced at noon.
The northeast Amarillo firm is a distributor of bottled nitrogen, often used in cooling purposes; acetylene, a colorless gaseous hydrocarbon used in cutting and welding torches; and bottled oxygen, all of which is highly combustible if exposed to open flames or sparks.
Witnesses said a flame appeared for about 2 minutes then died away. Six units of the Amarillo Fire Department were sent to the explosion site as a precautionary measure.
Company officials immediately secured the area from all onlookers.
Police said despite the loud-noise which could be heard a mile away, the explosion was contained primarily to the interior of the building. Employees of the firm said the injured were inside the building when the explosion occurred.
Metal panels blown from the walls left jagged holes in the structure located about 20 yards west of the main office building which was not damaged. The damaged panels were found more than 10 yards from the point of the blast.
The top of the building showed signs of sagging from the blast but remained intact.

Amarillo Globe-Times Texas 1971-03-24