Bomber Hits Chicago Gas Tank
A Consolidated Liberator bomber, an Army B24, crashed into a high gas storage tank on May 20, killing the entire crew. The tank, two and one-half miles southeast of the Chicago, Ill., airport, was virtually demolished and its 18,000,000 cubic feet of gas was set ablaze. The bomber was flying low on the way to land.
The crash occurred a few minutes before noon. Under a steady rain, the Chicago airport was operating by instrument flying rules. Ceiling was 500 feet and visibility three-quarters of a mile.
Approaching from the southwest, the bomber circled the airport to the north and east and was headed south when it flew into the tank. There was an explosion of terrific violence, and flames shot from the top of the steel structure, which is the property of the Peoples Gas Light and Coke Company.
Heat generated by the explosion was felt more than a mile away. There are no houses nearby. Nine company employees were on the grounds at the time of the crash, but none was hurt.
After the first explosion consumed the stored gas, 50,000 gallons of tar, used as a seal in the bottom to prevent gas leakage, caught fire. Eighteen firecompanies poured water into the substructure. Only about 100 feet of the tank remained standing.