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Web Master's Note:  The below article, which was reported the day following the explosion, is a good example of the secrecy of the project.  There is no mention as to the cause or what they were working on at the time.  However, one curious sentence should have given rise to a few questions.  It is mentioned that five of the injured were all U. S. Army privates first-class.  One might have wondered why there were Army privates involved at all.  Actually they were part of a special detachment of SED's (Manhattan Project Special Engineering Detachment) on loan from Oak Ridge!  Of course, due to the secrecy, the firemen and others were never aware that they were exposed to radioactive uranium hexafluoride.

"Explosion at Navy Yard"

The Philadelphia Record
Philadelphia, Pa.
September 3, 1944


"9 Are Injured; Blast Heard in Wide Area"


SIDE OF BUILDING RIPPED OUT; FIRE EXTINGUISHED - Two specialists were killed and nine other men injured late yesterday afternoon when an explosion, followed by fire, ripped out the side of a building at the Navy Yard.

The blast, heard throughout the Navy Yard and in some sections of South Philadelphia, occurred while Navy technicians were at work.

Gas was released, burning the lungs of some of the men.  They were given first aid at the scene and then sent to the Naval Hospital.  At least one is in "a very critical condition," the Navy announced.

Two other men, Navy Yard firemen, collapsed while fighting the blaze.  Their condition is not serious.

The two men who died following arrival at the Naval Hospital were:

Douglas P. Meigs, 26, Tacoma Park, Md., an employee of the H. K. Ferguson Company of Cleveland.

Peter N. Bragg Jr., 24, Fayetteville, Ark., a Navy chemical engineer.

The injured included five U. S. Army first class privates.  They were:

Merlyn L. Hanson, Grand Meadows, Minn.; John E. Tompkins, Arlington, Va.; George LeFevre, Columbia, Miss.; Stewart Bloom, Chicago, Ill.; and, Arnold Kramish, Denver, Co.


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