Moses Lake, WA Sugar Mill Explosion, Sep 1963

Moses Lake WASH Sugar Beet Plant.jpg


Moses Lake, Wash. (AP) -- A string of violent explosions in a $7 million Utah-Idaho Sugar Co. plant left four known dead Thursday with at least three missing and seven injured.
The blasts at the big factory late Wednesday left such a maze of rubble that the casualties still were in doubt Thursday morning.
Coroner Ronald Gill said four bodies were recovered. One other man was presumed dead, and two unaccounted for.
"There may be more," said Dr. Gill. "We have to wait until all shifts report to make a check."
The disaster came at the start of the harvest season in the Columbia Basin beet producing area but a company spokesman said he expected the plant would be back in operation in time to process this year's crop. Farmers were advised to keep beets in the ground.
More than 100 men worked through the night, searching for bodies in wreckage of the newly expanded plant.
The blasts chopped down two 135 foot silos, leveled two others halfway up and blew tops from four others.
Douglas Love, president and general manager of U. & I., said the explosions were touched off by a fire in a sugar bin. Cause of the blaze and exactly what blew up was not determined, he said.
Gill said the bodies recovered by Thursday morning are those of:
LEONARD ABLE, all of Moses Lake.
The body of AL HODSON, also of Moses Lake, was believed to be in a pile of rubble near the center of the explosion.
Gill said the two other men missing were DON YESSOCK and JOE HAIN, believed to be from Moses Lake.
Damage to the factory, the biggest in the company's system and one of the largest in the nation was estimated at more than $1 million.
About 75 people were working in the plant at the time of the explosion.

Port Angeles Evening News Washington 1963-09-26