The Explosion In Noel


| November/December 1970



Arndt Noel, Missouri 64854

(So many of these stories of explosions are written about years ago, but this is one that happened just last summer - it's frightening - Anna Mae)

Sunday, August 3rd, 1969, at 4:03 in the morning, Noel, Missouri, was horrified and terrified by an explosion of indescribable and unbelievable magnitude that cannot be described by a word picture or with a camera. Only we, who live in Noel and have seen, from day to day, the damages done to the homes and business buildings, have a faint conception of the tremendous power of that explosion.

So far, we have not had a satisfactory answer what caused the explosion. A train came into Noel with a burning flat car with two cylinders or vats of ammonium per chlorate, an oxidizer for propellant fuel and a box car containing alfalfa meal. No one knows what triggered the explosion. It is reported that five cars were totally disintegrated and parts were scattered as far as a mile from the explosion.

Approximately 115 homes and 48 business places were either damaged or totally wrecked. One person was killed, another died from a heart attack and about 80 persons were injured. No one has the answer why more were not killed. It is unbelievable.

About fifteen minutes before the big explosion we were awakened by a small explosion. I immediately donned my shirt, pants and shoes and went on the hill where our street intersects with highway 90 to see what had happened and where the fire was. Moments later I had a birds-eye view of the big explosion.