Coalmont, IN Powder Plant Explosion, Nov 1942


Coalmont, Ind., Nov. 13. -- (AP) -- Four men were killed and one other critically burned today in an explosion at the United States Powder Company's plant here.
James Jones, president, said the dead were:
FRED KENNERY of Lewis, Ind.
JESSE BEDWELL of Lewis, Ind.
PAUL BEMIS of Coalmont, Ind.
BURT KESTER of Coalmont, Ind.
Extremely seriously injured is CLARENCE TENNIS of Coalmont, Ind.
The company has numerous small buildings scattered about the plant area and it was indicated the explosion was confined to only one of the buildings.
The plant manufactures blasting powder for coal mines.
An explosion at the plant several months ago killed two men.

Joplin News Herald Missouri 1942-11-13

Transcribers Note: This article was pieced together from various newspapers.
I could not find one definitive article on the explosion.

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Coalmont powder mill

This powder mill still exists. It has been closed for years but several of the old brick buildings are still standing just west of town. It was last well known locally as the Birdsong farm.

Coalmont 1942 Powder Mill Explosion

I am a grandson of Clarence Clifford Tennis, who was killed on Friday, November 13, 1942 in a Powder Mill explosion near Coalmont, Indiana. According to my uncle, Walter Tennis, son of Clarence Clifford Tennis, my grandfather was killed immediately (burnt black) that day. He was taken by ambulance (McClanahan) to St Anthony Hospital in Terre Haute. The receiving attendant asked if he was a colored man... He was burnt that badly. (He was Caucasian.) I was also told Paul Bemis (who also died due to the explosion) did survive for a few days.

From this information from Walter Tennis, I surmise the four dead mentioned in the article above should include Clarence Tennis and the one extremely seriously injured was Paul Bemis.

Walter Tennis is still living and is now 93 years old.

Comment Posted: 9-24-2013

Gary Case