South Charleston, WV Gas Plant Explosion, Nov 1941

Death Spread By Explosion

All Workers in Plant at South Charleston, W. Va., Believed To Have Lost Lives.

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W. Va., Nov. 6. – (AP) Fire Chief James Barrett declared today non of the men in a three-story gas distillation plan at the Carbide and Carbon Chemicals corporation could have survived a blast which was followed by a stubborn fire.
Barrett said he did not know the number of men working there, but unofficial estimates placed the figure at 18.
Two bodies were recovered, and four badly injured men were taken to hospitals.
Neither of the bodies was identified immediately. Only a portion of one was taken to a South Charleston funeral home.
Barrett said the injured men were outside the building.

Daily Chronicle, Centralia, WA 6 Nov 1941

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Defense Plant Blast Kills Two Workmen

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W. Va., Nov. 6 (AP). – A localized explosion at the biggest plant in the great Kanawha Valley’s multi-million dollar chemicals industry Thursday killed at least two me, injured five others and started a fire which was still burning long after nightfall.
Officials of the Carbide and Carbon Chemicals Corporation plant, which normally employs 4,200 men in manufacturing important defense items, withheld comment about the damage.
Flames prevented entrance to the three-story distillation unit building and it could not be determined whether any other workmen besides the dead and injured had been in the structure.
Unofficial reports placed the customary crew in the unit at between eighteen and thirty men. Some workmen said, however, that only unit operators are on duty at lunch hour and that the blast occurred at 12:32 p.m., just two minutes after lunch period ended.
Immediate identification of the victims was impossible, officials said. Only fragments of the bodies were recovered and the identification discs ordinarily worn had been lost in the explosion.
Only one of the injured men was reported in serious condition. He was H. R. Fox, 32, who may lose his sight from burns.

Dallas Morning News, Dallas, TX 7 Nov 1941