Baroda, MI School Boiler Explosion, Nov 1946


Baroda, Mich., Nov. 14 -- (AP) -- School authorities today credited a new schedule which emptied a first floor classroom 10 minutes before a boiler exploded at the Consolidated school with holding the toll to one pupil killed and 18 others injured, one critically.
The blast occurred while 260 children were in the school, but most of them were in undamaged sections of the two story structure.
WALTER RUPPEL, 13, died less than three hours after the blast.
ALICE JOHNS, 13, was critically injured and hospital attendants described her condition as "poor."
The boiler blew up at 10:40 a.m. (CST) Wednesday.
School authorities said that under a changed schedule, a score of pupils in the classroom directly above the boiler had filed out at 10:30 a.m. for a lunch period. Under the former schedule they would have remained in class until noon.
Just above the emptied classroom, a room full of seventh grade pupils was dropped to the basement and buried beneath debris.
Authorities questioned ELDON NITZ, 16, who, according to school superintendent, HOWARD WALTER, was substituting for his janitor uncle who was away.
NITZ said he had received instructions from his uncle on firing the boiler. He said he was not in the boiler room when the blast occurred and "didn't know what happened."
The youth was not held and prosecutor KARL ZICK said there would be no criminal inquest.
He added, however, that state police would conduct an inquiry into the "mechanical" causes of the explosion.

Dixon Evening Telegraph Illinois 1946-11-14