Westport, CT Trailer Truck Explosion, May 1946


Westport, Conn. -- (AP) -- State police at Westport barracks said Thursday night a fireman was killed and "ten or twelve" others badly burned when a large trailer truck which had left the road and overturned, caught fire and exploded.
At Norwalk hospital a spokesman said that "ten or twelve" men apparently "very badly injured" had been brought to the hospital. No names were available, the hospital reported.
At state police headquarters the desk officer said that a detail had been dispatched to the scene of the accident, which occurred shortly before 11 p.m. on the Boston post road a mile from the center of the town.
An officer on duty at the Westport fire headquarters said he had only fragmentary information as the department still was at the scene, but he understood that the injuries occurred when "something in the truck's cargo" exploded.

Kingsport News Tennessee 1946-05-03



Westport, Conn., May 3 (AP) -- An explosion which suddenly sprayed blazing liquid on firemen and others as they fought a blaze in an accident damaged truck today left a toll of two dead and eight severely injured.
FRANCIS P. DUNNIGAN, 53, a fireman and former chief of the Westport department, was almost instantly killed when the truck, reported by police to have contained nylon yarn and rubber cement, exploded on the Boston Post Road here last night.
JOHN LOWELL, the truck driver, tentatively listed as from Providence, R. I., died early today in the nearby Norwalk Hospital where eight others were reported in grave condition.
Five other Westport firemen and a 16 year old boy were reported to be "very seriously injured" at the hospital where it was said a complete check of the number injured and the extent of their injuries had not been completed.
Chief of Police JOHN A. DOLAN, an eye witness of the accident, said that the truck, headed toward New York, blew a front tire and swerved into a tree. Almost immediately he said, the flames flashed from the gas tank, enveloping the cab. The driver struggled out and collapsed.

Tells of Explosion.
Before the department arrived, Chief DOLAN, said, he heard several muffled explosions from within the truck. When the department truck reached the scene the firemen approached the truck with the hose from the chemical tank just as the door blew out and the men were sprayed with a blazing liquid.
The police chief said that spectators rushed to the aid of the firemen, helping several of them roll on the ground to extinguish their blazing garments. A call was sent for state police aid and the injured men were rushed to the hospital in state and local police cars and in private automobiles.
Early this morning a hospital spokesman gave out what he said was "an incomplete list" of the victims. The list included the names of JOHN GALLAGHER, IRVING SAMITZ, JOHN SAVIANO, JOHN and GEORGE POWERS, DOMINICK ZEOLI, all members of the fire department, and a 16 year old boy whose last name was believed to be BAILEY.
Chief DOLAN said that an investigation would be launched today and that State Fire Marshall EDWARD J. HICKEY would also institute a probe into the cause of the explosion.

The Kingston Daily Freeman New York 1946-05-03