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Friday marks 85 years since deadly gas explosion at New London School

This Friday marks 85 years since a gas explosion killed hundreds at the New London school.
Published: Mar. 12, 2022 at 1:32 PM CST
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NEW LONDON, Texas (KLTV) - This Friday marks 85 years since a gas explosion killed hundreds at the New London school. It’s our topic of Mark in Texas History with Mark Scirto.

It was an explosion remembered today and one which changed the way we live.

The New London explosion is the deadliest school disaster in our nation’s history, killing 311 students and teachers.

It was blamed on a natural gas leak beneath the building.

“I was looking across there at the school and I was thinking, those kids were coming in, they were laughing, they were playing. They were getting excited about a county meeting and a day off. And the next day, they were gone. The attention it is getting even now, through the media, through our website. We had two groups in here recently from England.”

Within weeks of the disaster, the Texas Legislature passed a law requiring an odor be added to natural gas.

“A lot of things changed after the school explosion like putting in the malodor, so you can smell natural gas. There were a lot of architectural changes that were made. Some of the people at the museum have gone and talked to The National Architectural Association; there were a lot of changes that took place.”

A museum memorializing the tragedy is located on Main Street in New London. It is open Monday through Saturday.

And in the middle of the road is the historical marker, which was erected in 1989. Behind that is a cenotaph commemorating the victims of the explosion. It has names of every victim on it.

The New London School before the explosion.
The New London School before the explosion.(KLTV)
Crews work to pull people out of the rubble of the explosion at New London's school.
Crews work to pull people out of the rubble of the explosion at New London's school.(KLTV)
New London School historical marker.
New London School historical marker.(KLTV)

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