Explosion Wrecks Hawthorne Plant
In August, 1955, inspectors under Captain William R. Hartzell of the Hawthorne, Calif. Fire Department refused to give fire and safety clearance to the Western Aire Engineering Company.
On October 24 the Hawthorne City Attorney warned the plant’s officials that unless the premises were brought up to required safety standards its license to operate would not be renewed.
The same day, an explosion and fire injured one worker and destroyed the interior of the plant, causing an estimated $10,000 damages. Fire Chief Joy M. West blamed the blast and fire on “unsafe handling of flammable liquids and improper electrical installation.”