Explosion at O’Connor Electro-Plating Corp. (1947)

Explosion at O’Connor Electro-Plating Corp. (1947)


A vicious chemical blast at the O’Connor Electro-Plating Co. ripped apart a four-block area in the manufacturing district on Pico Boulevard between Stanford Avenue and Paloma Street, leaving 17 dead and 150 injured.

The explosion that destroyed or damaged 116 buildings had opened a crater 22 feet wide and six feet deep. The blast shattered windows across a one-square-mile area and was felt as far away as Long Beach and the San Fernando Valley.

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The caption on this Times photo published Feb. 21, 1947, the day after the explosion at O’Connor Electro-Plating Corp. building, read: “Firemen, police officers and volunteer rescuers here are combing the ruins, searching for victims still trapped beneath fallen bricks, timbers and whole sections of broken buildings. Compression blew out windows in nearby buildings and shattered glass in some structures more than a mile away, while reverberating roar carried as far as San Fernando Valley and Los Angeles Harbor.” PHOTOGRAPH BY: Andrew Arnott / Los Angeles Times

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Rescuers carry a victim of the O’Connor Electro-Plating Corp. building blast. PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times

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An aerial photo of the O’Conner Electro-Plating Corp. building blast scene taken from the Goodyear blimp. This photo was published in The Times the day after the blast; the names of the streets were added by a Times staff artist. PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times

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Rubble is all that remains of the O’Connor Electro-Plating Corp. building after the explosion. This photo, made from two prints, ran on the front page of The Times the day after the blast. PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times

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Volunteers and firefighters work to put out flames and search for victims of the O’Connor plant explosion. PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times

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Jack Lindsay and Marguerite Fuber, great-grandchildren of Maria Lithgow, help move Lithgow’s belongings from her home, which was condemned after it was damaged by the blast at the O’Connor plant. PHOTOGRAPH BY: R.O. Ritchie / Los Angeles Times

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Volunteer rescuers bring out a victim of the O’Connor Electro-Plating Corp. building explosion. PHOTOGRAPH BY: Art Rogers / Los Angeles Times

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Catholic priests move among victims of the O’Connor blast, administering last rites. PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times

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Father Bernardine from St. Joseph’s Catholic Church administers last rites to a dying victim of the O’Connor plant blast. PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times

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Victims leave the scene of the explosion at the O’Connor plant, in a photo taken by a Los Angeles Daily News photographer. PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Daily News / UCLA

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Rescue workers carry out a victim of the O’Conner Electro-Plating Corp. building blast. PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times

via LA Times


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