Honoring the Lives of Six Who Died in an Accident at the Umatilla Weapons Depot
UMATILLA, Ore.-- On march 21st. 1944, an accidental explosion killed six people at the Umatilla Weapons Depot.
On Thursday all six got a special recognition. Many people in the crowd were living at the depot when the explosion happened.
Some tell us the blast was heard as far Pendleton and some parts of Idaho. An igloo at the depot containing more than 200 hundred, 500pound bombs exploded.
The munitions were stored there to help with the war. One woman says her mother and father both worked at the depot then, but luckily they weren't hurt.
"We felt the house, it didn't break anything but it jarred it, that was the first we knew of it," said Betty Carlson, who was there when the accident happened.
"I went into the drug store to get a Pepsi cola, little cup of it back then, and while I was in there boom!, I ran outside and everybody looked in every direction, didn't know what had happened of course," said Rolly Cassens, who was in Hermiston when the accident happened.
Sitting next to Betty was her brother Dean, who also there. She carries her dad's guard pin from 1944 on her jacket.
Two other workers were injured from the accident, but they lived. It's the only fatal accident at the depot ever since.