Chicago, IL Street Car - Gasoline Truck Wreck, May 1950
They believed, however, that the bodies of all victims had been found.
Meanwhile, officials organized a sweeping inquiry to determine whether criminal negligence was involved in the disaster.
Coroner A. L. BRODIE said he would impanel a jury of experts June 1 to investigate. He was expected to coordinate inquiries by the fire department, police, state fire marshal, the Interstate Commerce Commission and the State Commerce Commission.
Report Four Children Safe
Private investigations were expected by various insurance companies and by petroleum associations interested in the shipment of gasoline and other inflammables.
A search for four children previously reported missing was abandoned after their mother reported that she personally had handed them through a window of their flaming apartment to a stranger who apparently took them to his home. Radio stations broadcast a request for the stranger to take the children to the Red Cross for return to their mother.
The tragedy struck the south side at the dinner hour last night.
"It was terrible," said one eyewitness. "I could look into the window of the street car and see those people roasting to death in a tangled mass as they fought to get out the doors."
Disaster Plan in Effect
"Only a few escaped through windows. Their clothes were on fire. They looked like little flaming dolls."
The city's "Disaster Plan 5" was put into effect minutes after the blast. It is the same plan that will be used if an atomic bomb ever hits here. One thousand police and all available fire equipment responded.
The street car motorman, PAUL MANNING, 42, died at his controls. The truck drive, MEL WILSON, 39, of Valparaiso, Ind., burned to death in the cab of the truck which was owned by the Sprout and Davis Trucking Co., of Whiting, Ind.
As the trolley smashed into the tanker, "balls of fire" ignited buildings nearby. Firemen were forced to fight the flames in the structures at the same time they tried to save the passengers caught in the street car.
Tear Buildings Apart
At dawn today, heavy wrecking equipment began tearing the buildings apart brick-by-brick as searchers sought the bodies of persons who may have been trapped in them.
Officials said gasoline which did not explode or burn had poured into the sewer system under a two-block area surrounding the crash scene at 62nd and State streets.
Firemen and police warned spectators to stay out of the area as they began pumping tons of water down manholes to flush the sewers clear. They said a cigaret[sic] or other flame dropped into a sewer might set off explosions that would blow sewer covers and pavement from the ground.
Twenty-eight burned and injured persons lay in hospitals and doctors said 10 were near death.
Ploughs Into Truck
The tragedy occurred in a predominantly Negro district at 6:36 o'clock last night as streets were crowded with workers homeward bound.
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