Gone at 3:17: The Untold Story of the Worst School Disaster in American History

Gone at The Untold Story of the Worst School Disaster in American History At p m on March a natural gas leak beneath the London Junior Senior High School in the oil boomtown of New London Texas created a lethal mixture of gas and oxygen in the school s base

  • Title: Gone at 3:17: The Untold Story of the Worst School Disaster in American History
  • Author: David M.Brown Michael Wereschagin
  • ISBN: 9781612341538
  • Page: 321
  • Format: Hardcover
  • At 3 17 p.m on March 18, 1937, a natural gas leak beneath the London Junior Senior High School in the oil boomtown of New London, Texas, created a lethal mixture of gas and oxygen in the school s basement The odorless, colorless gas went undetected until the flip of an electrical switch triggered a colossal blast The two story school, one of the nation s most modern, diAt 3 17 p.m on March 18, 1937, a natural gas leak beneath the London Junior Senior High School in the oil boomtown of New London, Texas, created a lethal mixture of gas and oxygen in the school s basement The odorless, colorless gas went undetected until the flip of an electrical switch triggered a colossal blast The two story school, one of the nation s most modern, disintegrated, burying everyone under a vast pile of rubble and debris More than 300 students and teachers were killed, and hundreds were injured As the seventy fifth anniversary of the catastrophe approaches, it remains the deadliest school disaster in U.S history Few, however, know of this historic tragedy, and no book, until now, has chronicled the explosion, its cause, its victims, and the aftermath Gone at 3 17 is a true story of what can happen when school officials make bad decisions To save money on heating the school building, the trustees had authorized workers to tap into a pipeline carrying waste natural gas produced by a gasoline refinery The explosion led to laws that now require gas companies to add the familiar pungent odor The knowledge that the tragedy could have been prevented added immeasurably to the heartbreak experienced by the survivors and the victims families The town would never be the same.Using interviews, testimony from survivors, and archival newspaper files, Gone at 3 17 puts readers inside the shop class to witness the spark that ignited the gas Many of those interviewed during twenty years of research are no longer living, but their acts of heroism and stories of survival live on in this meticulously documented and extensively illustrated book.

    One thought on “Gone at 3:17: The Untold Story of the Worst School Disaster in American History”

    1. New London School ExplosionAbout five years ago I was reading through a book containing my family genealogy when I came across a side note next to the names of two of my cousins, Pauline and Donald Barrett: "They died in the New London School explosion."I had discovered references to other tragedy's throughout the book, so this one didn't strike me as unusual at first. I continued reading, and at one point I came across a reference to the event a second time: "They died in the New London School [...]

    2. This is one of the saddest non-fiction books I have ever read. It is also an exemplary demonstration of the power of clear and precise reporting. It is a superb document detailing not just the events of March 18, 1937 and its aftermath, but the emotions and ramifications of those events. At 3:17 p.m. on that Thursday afternoon, in the small town of New London, Texas, a pool of undetected natural gas which had gathered in the basement of the town's school exploded, creating a blast that was felt [...]

    3. Haunting. The descriptions of injuries inflicted on the victims of this disaster are burned into my memory. This is definitely not a book for the faint-of-heart.I hesitate to call this book "good", because using such a word to describe a book about tragedy just seems wrong. It was through-provoking, memorable, respectful, and very interesting. I had never heard of this disaster prior to reading this book, and throughout I wondered why. How could such a tragedy slip out of our memory? The author [...]

    4. Horrifying account of the worst disaster in US school history. The terrible event paved the way for safety measures regulating the natural gas industry. Captures the horror without dwelling on the grisly details, it was still difficult to read at times. Recommended by a cousin when I posted that my husband's grandfather was one of the hundreds of volunteers that helped clear the debris. He had a welding shop in nearby Gladewater, Texas.

    5. Very carefully researched documentary, of a tragic eventat was entirely preventable. In an effort to save a minor amount of money, many lives were lost. Also a great accounting of early news reporting of a major catastrophe TV or Internet, or cellphones!

    6. This book was recommended by one of the volunteers at the New London Museum. He said others have commented that it was better than "My Boys and Girls Are In There" (which I thought was excellent). I found it to be more comprehensive, almost overwhelming. Hearing the accounts of parents searching for their children, what the reporters went through to file their stories, and the description of the community were fascinating. Towards the end, the author writes of Marvin Dees coming home after helpi [...]

    7. I had never heard of this event before so I am glad that I read about it. This is a horribly tragic event that I can't even imagine it occurring today. The author did a good job retelling the event but I often got lost in everyone's names and keeping straight who everyone was. I wish more pictures were included to help visualize the impact of the event.

    8. Incredibly well told account of a heart wrenching true story. Difficult not to read with tears in your eyes. Beautifully researched and masterfully written.

    9. I wish there'd been less time spent on the reporters and more coverage of the victims, survivors, their parents and how they coped.

    10. Others have given a better review of this book than I can, but I'll try.A well-researched accounting of a school disaster that has disappeared from the consciousness of Americans. Why have we forgotten? We have a reminder of the disaster every time we smell natural gas or the smell from the flyer that the utility companies send out regularly.This story haunts me. How the "richest school district in America" could try to save a few dollars by jury-rigging the heating system of their new school. I [...]

    11. A friend recommended this book (as we live in the area), and it was an enlightening read although a difficult one. Any story that involves the death of children is not something you look forward to, but I was motivated by a desire to understand what really happened as I had heard people mention the tragedy in passing a number of times. I found the local history interesting; however, the writing didn't necessarily flow smoothly, jumped around, and repeat itself often. I came away from this book g [...]

    12. This was a very interesting book, though I hesitate to say "enjoyable" as the subject matter is quite sad, and an event in history that I had never heard of before. A true event which took place in Texas during the depression in a small town. You hurt for all the people involved - those who lost their lives, and maybe, even more, for those who survived. I enjoy not only learning about the specific event in books like this, but also the era and bits of everyday life that I learn about. If you enj [...]

    13. I would recommend this book to anyone who (like me) was unaware of why natural gas has a foul odor. As an avid reader of books about disasters (natural & man-made), I was very surprised that I had not ever heard of the explosion in New London before. The book was well-written and moving, both sensitive to the victims of the disaster & their families and illustrative of their plight, but also objective enough to disseminate historical and technical information to allow the reader to appre [...]

    14. I was stunned at how badly written and edited this book was but the power of the story was so compelling, it was amazing. Had heard of, read articles about New London but nothing in real depth. And since it's just down the road from me, this story was even more interesting. It deserved better handling though.

    15. Read this one in one sitting. Couldn't put it down once I started. Just so sad. I hate reading about such irresponsibility, such cheapness, such lack of caring, and knowing it is likely still going on today and somewhere is a tragedy waiting to happen boggles the mind

    16. I live three or four miles from the school where this tragedy occurred. I grew up hearing about it, and I'm glad someone wrote a book about it, because the lost children, the surviving families, and the rescuers should never be forgotten.

    17. Impossible to put down, even when I wanted to. So much death and destruction. Haunting is an apt description. The authors have created a masterpiece to pay tribute to the victims and to honor the survivors.

    18. An in-depth telling of the tragic school disaster. Very well research. Couldn't help but be touched by the enormity of the tragedy.

    19. Very well told narrative history of the deadliest school disaster in U. S. history, the explosion of the London Junior-Senior High School in Texas in 1937.

    20. Heartbreaking yet riveting, I could not put this book down. such a horrible tragedy that no one remembers!!

    21. Historically important and it happened right here in my backyard. Everyone needs to read this book and find out why natural gas smells so funny. You'll be grateful that it does.

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