Very sad Texas event -
New London (today population 998) was the first school in Texas to get a lighted football stadium.
On March 18, 1937 the school blew up in New London killing 293 students and teachers. Natural gas had collected in the a 56-by-253-foot crawl space under the school. At 3:17 p.m. shop teacher Lemmie Butler turned on an electric sander, triggering the blast. The explosion lifted the school into the air, then dropped it with a crash. A two-ton chunk of concrete was propelled 200*feet. This has remained the worst school disaster in history.
Within weeks (1937) Texas state lawmakers mandated that normally odorless natural gas be scented with pungent sulfur compound.
What happended? In January 1937, district officials elected to disconnect school gas pipes from a commercial provider, which cost $300 a month, and take up an oil company’s offer of free “green” gas. Many homes in the area used the same*fuel. Later investigations revealed faulty plumbing had allowed the gas to fill up the crawl space under the school.
In the aftermath, telegrams of condolence from around the world - including one from Adolf Hitler - flooded into the town. Within a short time of the blast, the site was cleared and construction started anew. A new school opened in*1939.
P.S. - 10 years later. The Texas Board of Plumbing Examiners was created by Senate Bill 11, 50th Legislature, Regular Session, in 1947.