The New London School Explosion
February 23, 2010 2:49 PM Subscribe
posted by SpringAquifer (21 comments total)
4 users marked this as a favorite
One spring afternoon more than 70 years ago, an East Texas teacher turned on an electric sander. The subsequent explosion
caused the New London School to lift into the air and then smash into the ground, ultimately leaving some 300 students and teachers dead in the rubble
. It remains the worst school disaster in American history.
"To save gas expenses of $300 a month, plumbers, with the knowledge and approval of the school board and superintendent, had tapped a residue gas line of Parade Gasoline Company. School officials saw nothing wrong because the use of 'green' or 'wet' gas was a frequent money-saving practice for homes, schools, and churches in the oilfield. The researchers concluded that gas had escaped from a faulty connection and accumulated beneath the building. Green gas has no smell; no one knew it was accumulating beneath the building, although on other days there had been evidence of leaking gas. No school officials were found liable.
As a result of the 1937 disaster, The Texas Legislature passed a law requiring the odorization of all gas for commercial and industrial use. Many other states, followed by the federal government, passed similar statutes that same year
An online memorial
is available. The survivors still return each year
to the site of the tragedy.