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2 Killed in Flash at Bermite, 8-26-1969.



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Newhall Plant Blast Kills 1.

Newhall (AP) — An explosion rocked a munitions and flare manufacturing plant building Tuesday night, killing one man and injuring nine others, sheriff's deputies said.

It was the second death within a week from an explosion at such a plant, the other coming last Thursday in an explosive-making plant at another company's nearby site.

Fire officials said there was absolutely no suspicion of arson or sabotage. Both firms involved have extensive defense contracts, officials said.

The dead man was not immediately identified.

The building, at the Bermite Powder Co. three miles east of Newhall, was destroyed with $20,000 damage, Los Angeles County fire officials said.

The cause was unknown but the sheriff's substation at Newhall said it received a report that a worker saw a spark just before the explosion, which touched off a fire that engulfed the structure of steel and concrete.

Flares and explosives were made in the building, officials said.

Deputies said the blast occurred in a disposal area and that magnesium might have been what was initially touched off.

"There was quite a flash," said the watch commander at the sheriff's station. "We didn't hear any boom but a tremendous flash was reported to have lit up the whole Santa Clarita Valley."

Four of the injured were hospitalized, one with serious burns, and five others were treated and released at the plant dispensary.

The most seriously injured was Kenneth Clow, 21, Saugus, with third degree burns over 80 per cent of his body. He was taken to a local hospital, then transferred to USC-County Medical Center.

The others hospitalized were Skelton Gibbs, 58, Little Rock, who suffered head injuries; William Eddy, 43, Saugus, and his son, Duane, 18, who both suffered shock.

Thursday's explosion was at Flare-Northern Co. of Saugus, with the cause tentatively blamed on carelessness.

Gibbs' address was listed as 9054 East Route 12, Little Rock; both Eddys' as 21057 Cedar Falls Drive, Saugus.

No Saugus address was available for Clow.

News story courtesy of Stan Walker.



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Blast at Factory Claims 2nd Life.

Newhall (AP) — The explosion in the Bermite Powder Co. plant that killed one employe [sic] and injured nine others claimed a second life last night.

Kenneth Clow, 21, of Saugus died at 8:55 p.m. at USC County Medical Center. Doctors said he had third degree burns on 100 per cent of his body.

News story courtesy of Stan Walker.


BERMITE ACCIDENTS

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2 Killed 8-26-1969

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