NEW LONDON, Texas (KETK) - It's called New London now, but back in 1937, it was simply London, Texas.
They were inordinately proud of their school.
This is oil and gas country and the London School District was one of the richest in America.
The school design back in 1932, called for a boiler and steam heating system. But that was overruled...and 72 gas heaters were installed instead.
March 18, 1937 was a Thursday. There was to be no school on Friday so students could attend an interscholastic meet in Henderson.
Early that year, the school tapped into the Parade Gasoline Company's line to save money.
That tap, had a leak. But in its normal state, natural gas is odorless, so no one knew.
At 3:15, the school was almost over...classes were about to be dismissed when Lemmie Butler, a shop teacher, turned on an electric sander.
That's when the world ended.
It was and is the worst school disaster in America's history. In all 295 students and teachers died that day.
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