The Morning News from Wilmington, Delaware on August 3, 1977 · Page 3
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The Morning News from Wilmington, Delaware · Page 3

Wilmington, Delaware
Issue Date:
Wednesday, August 3, 1977
Page 3
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Tr. Morning Nw, Wilmington, Dl., Wdndoy, Aug. 3, 1977 Investigators sift debris from blast in quest of cause By HUGH CUTLER DELAWARE CITY Air Products and Chemicals Inc. officials said last night that the explosion at their Delaware City plant Monday which killed four men, injured two more, and destroyed the new nitrous oxide unit was probably not caused by nitrous oxide gas. A company spokesman said it appears more likely that the blast was caused by another gas ammonium nitrate, used to produce nitrous oxide or by steam, which is a byproduct of the ammonium nitrate conversion. Company officials as well as New Castle County polict and federal safety investigators were sifting through the metal rubble that had been the nitrous oxide reactor unit yesterday. They were hoping "to find any clues that would tell us what happened be it written clues, or the location of a piece of metal or a part of the reactor," according to Stewart H. Stabley, community relations manager at Air Products' headquarters in Allentown, Pa. Meanwhile, one of .the injured men, William R. Harmon Jr., 31, of 168 Scotfield Drive, Newark, was reported in good condition last night at Delaware Division with multiple cuts and burns. The other injured man, Mark H. Frasier, 34. of New London Road, Newark, was treated for cuts an bruises at St. Francis Hospital Monday and released. Funeral services have been set for three of the four victims. "At this time," Stabley said last night, "we don't know" what could have caused the explosion. He said, though, that the blast apparently occurred in the reactor. While nitrous oxide can sometimes be hazardous, Stabley said, "from what we've observed, the probability that it caused the explosion is almost zero." Nitrous oxide, primarily used as a medical and dental anesthetic, is a gas which breaks down readily. Under controlled conditions, ammonium nitrate decomposes to nitrous oxide and steam, Stabley said. The Delaware City plant is Air Products' "only nitrous oxide production facility, he said, and it has been in operation since March. Other operations there, largely undamaged, have been ongoing for close to 14 years. The entire manufacturing operation is closed down at the plant although trucks are being dispatched to meet deliveries, Stabley said. The nitrous oxide production unit was designed to run "almost automatically," Stabley said, with only a worker or two manning it once it is started. The victims would have quit their day's work just 10 minutes after the 4:20 p.m. blast. The explosion levelled the 30-by-50 foot prefabricated steel building housing the reactor unit, scattering metal shards and debris Russians rescue 1 CAPE MAY. N.J. (AP) - A Soviet trawler rescued one of two persons aboard a small airplane which plunged into the Atlantic Ocean about 90 miles southeast of here yesterday, Coast Guard officials said. Otto Bloomingburg, 47. of Block Island, R.I., was plucked from the ocean just minutes after the single-engine Piper Aztec plane disappeared below the waves, a Coast Guard spokesman said. The unidentified pilot was missing, the spokesman said. Bloomingburg was airlifted by Coast Guard helicopter from the deck of the Soviet trawler to the Atlantic City Medical Center NJ. 'pays off TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - New Jersey's new election law enforcement commission paid more than $220,000 yesterday to the major party candidates for governor. The first payments in the nation's first publicly financed gubernatorial election came without ceremony. The commission simply deposted checks in the Pallottines In ending business jury hears . .v. .M inrin Vnuon. .mi Frnnf v those who needed to know. BALTIMORE (AP)-The Pal-lottine Fathers and their former top fund raiser, Rev. Guido J. Car-cich, ran a money-lending business, a Mandel trial codefendant. who borrowed from them testified yesterday. "Father Carcich and the Pallottines were really in the lending business," Harry W. Rodgers III told the jury in the U.S. District Court where he, Gov. Marvin Mandel and four other men are on trial. Rodgers testified that the over an area about the size of a football field. Neither company nor county police investigators could say yesterday whether mechanical or human error was at fault, but a county police spokesman said "all indications" were that the blast was accidental. Stabley could not say if either of two tanker trucks parked next to the nitrous oxide unit both of them full of ammonium nitrate had been pumping the gas into the plant when the blast happened. One of the victims, Joe E. Graham, 49, of 136 Meadowood Drive, Meadowood, had been plant manager in charge of all Air Products' chemical operations at Delaware City for the past 10 years. He was a World War II veteran. Mr. Graham is survived by his wife, Shirley J.; a son, Steven H., at home; two daughters, Lisa Graham and Linda Graham, both at home; and two sisters, Marilyn Bishop and Yevonne Bareswilt, both of Middleport, Ohio. Services for Mr. Graham will be tomorrow morning at 11 at the Doherty-Wickersham Funeral Home, 3200 Limestone Road, where friends may call tonight. Burial wil be in Gracelawn Memorial Park. Another victim, Oscar E. Stull, 49, of 2 Brookmead Road, Brook-haven, had been a maintenance engineer at the plant for 14 years. He was a veteran of the Korean conflict. , , t . . ' Mr. Stull is survived by his wife, Shirley E.; two sons, William, at home, and Timothy at Fort Knox. Ky.; a daughter, Rebecca Stull, at home; his mother, Blanche Stull of Nicholson, Pa. and a brother, Nelson of Nicholson. Services for Mr. Stull will be tomorrow night at 8 at the Faith Baptist Church, 4210 Limestone Road, where friends may call one hour earlier. Burial will be in the Nicholson cemetery. Instead of flowers, the family suggests contributions to the Faith Baptist Church Building Fund. A third victim, Thomas Edward Adams, 29, of 212 Winston Jve., Elmhurst, had been a plant operator at Air Products for five years. He is survived by his wife, Patricia Anne DiMaio Adams; a son, Thomas II, at home; two daughters, Carly Adams and Laura Adams, both at home; his parents, Mr. and Mrs. John Clavey Adams of Wilmington; and a brother, John J. Adams Jr. of Heritage Park. Services for Mr. Edwards will be Friday morning at 10 at St. Matthews Catholic Church. 3 Curtis Ave., Woodcrest. Friends may call tomorrow night at the John F. Yasik and Son Inc. Funeral Home, 607 S. Harrison St. Burial will be in All Saints Cemetery. The fourth victim, Robert D. Grier, 41, of near North East, Md., was also an engineer at the plant. where he was reported in critical condition. A hospital corpsman from the Coast Guard cutter Hamilton treated Bloomingburg on the Soviet ship and en route to Atlantic City, the spokesman said. The Soviet trawler, August Alle, fishing for squid, radioed the Coast Guard in New York at 12:30 p.m. that it had spotted the downed aircraft and picked up Bloomingburg. The Russians said the airplane sank immediately after its plunge, the Coast Guard said. The airplane was reportedly chartered by the American Telephone & Telegraph Co. for ocean cable repair work, the Coast Guard said. 2 candidates anr)iHaf(.' accounts. The state public financing law was enacted in 1974 as one of Gov. Brendan T. Byrne's first major programs. Byrne said in his inaugural address that year that unrestricted private campaign donations had placed the political process in the state in "the chains of wealth." Roman Catholic missionary order, whose fund-raising activities are under investigation by a state grand jury, advanced money to developers and owned motels and hotels. Rodgers said thai he and two other codefendants his brother, William, and W. Dale Hess borrowed $150,000 through Carcich in April, 1974 at 12 per cent interest and repaid it 15 months later. He said they needed the money because banks began calling in their business loans after they r 7.. , m i BOY, dOg and a COOl Tension By WILLIAM P. FRANK Tension at state juvenile corrections institutions increased yesterday as a strike of 135 unionized employes went into its fourth day. Officials of the bureau of juvenile corrections charged that the pickets stationed outside the centers were more belligerent yesterday than on Saturday when the strike began. Ronald Janicki, superintendent of Bridge House on 9th Avenue, off Maryland Avenue, said the presence of pickets interfered yesterday with food deliveries to the institution. "The truck drivers refused to drive past pickets and so we had to send staff members up the hill to get the food," Janicki said. "The pickets didn't give our staff members any trouble, however." Officials from Ferris School for Boys on Centre Road near Wil Two meetings called to discuss magnet schools Two meetings will be held tomorrow to discuss specialized "magnet schools" proposals for New Castle County. Magnet schools offer in-depth teaching in areas such as music or art not offered by most schools. They are often used to promote voluntary desegregation by offering programs of special interest to selected groups of students. At 9 a.m., Wilmington school officials will meet at the Wilmington Skills Center, 14th and Market Streets. At 8 p.m. 12 school districts will meet at the Richardson Park School, Idella Avenue, Richardson Park. The meetings must be held before the applications for federal planning grants are filed. City group wants cops to walk By MARGARET PALA . A citizens group wants the Wilmington Bureau of Police to begin an experimental foot-patrol program to improve what the group calls poor relations between police and residents. Wilmington United Neighborhoods contend that such daily patrols would help residents and officers get to know and respect each other, according to Kim Cloud, head of the community group's security committee. As a result, fesidents would be more willing to call on police and help them protect the neighborhood, he said. "Kids never see cops other than those responding to complaints or handcuffing somebody and hauling them away from the neighborhood," Cloud said. "So kids don't get an impression of c6ps as were formally notified they were under investigation by the federal grand jury which indicted the six defendants for mail fraud and racketeering in November, 1975. Prosecution witnesses testified earlier in the trial that Hess arranged a $42,000 Pallottines loan for Mandel in September, 1974, to help the governor finance his divorce from his first wife, Barbara. Harry Rodgers was the third defendant to testify in his own defense, taking the stand after Man-del and Hess. Other defendants fc 11111. tiirit. t TTMMiinwiairirtn-w-"--'-"--- - m b bnawn jack ana pai kutu m w woiwi uj riVerS lOg Thompson Bridge crosses the Brandywine. (SUff photo builds at mington and Woods Haven Kruse School for Girls near Claymont, said that pickets there were generally orderly but tried to discourage nonunion employes from reporting for work. On strike are group leaders, who act as guards; cooks, and some clerical employes. At issue is the number of weekends a month they are to have off. In the past, union members had every other weekend off. But beginning in July, John J. Mulve-na III, chief of the bureau of juvenile corrections, announced they EPA charged with polluting reputation of state, Del. firms By WALLACE C. JUDD JR. The list of alleged water polluters issued this week by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) give Delaware firms and government a bum rap, says Austin P. Olney, acting state secretary of natural resources and environmental control. On Monday, the EPA identified companies across the nation that it said did not meet the national July 1 deadline for installing appropriate water pollution control equipment. Seven of those companies have plants in Delaware or nearby in New Jersey. The EPA agrees with Olney's first complaint. Olney says the nationwide numbers EPA released 78 industries and 98 municipalities make it look like Delaware is responsible for about 10 per cent of the water pollution caused by firms in the country. An EPA spokesman said yesterday that those numbers were incorrect and represented the number of alleged offenders for New Jersey only. No total number has been developed, but the EPA estimates that it is about 400. The problem was that the release of the names was poorly fHpndiv or helpful. We had respect for the neighborhood cop when we were kids growing up on 4th Street." Cloud said he hopes to get political backing for the proposal at an Aug. 30 meeting with Mayor William T. McLaughlin and city council members. Marge Scerbinski, another security committee member, said the group's proposal needed work. The group has not, for example, decided which neighborhood should get the foot patrols, how much they would cost and where the money would come from. "It's still in the budding stages," she said. Police Chief Harry F. Manelski opposes widespread neighborhood foot patrols as costly and ineffective in fighting highly mobile and sophisticated criminals. "That police on foot was the are Irvin Kovens and Ernest N. Cory Jr. Mandel is accused of accepting an estimated $357,000 in business interests, gifts and vacations from the others in return for trying to get the 1972 General Assembly to legislate benefits for Marlboro Race Track. Harry Rodgers said that when he, his brother, Cory and Hess secretly purchased the track Dec. 31, 1971, their "intention from the very beginning was not to reveal the information to the press, only a . i rs. a :x i l. t .t.k k. juvenile would have to work three weekends a month. That angered the rank and file of the union, Local 2004, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employes. They went out on strike Saturday morning. William McLean of Wilmington, temporary chief cook at Ferris, said pickets had warned him not to report to work. "I just ignored them, and drove into the grounds along a back-road," McLean said. Admimistration officials said they will be able to hold out as long as the union stays on strike, but coordinated, the EPA spokesman said. Regional offices were responsible for releasing names in their areas, and offices handled the release differently. The New York office released its names ahead of schedule and other offices scrambled to catch up. The New York office implied that all companies on the list faced a federal lawsuit. The spokesman said the release was intended only to identify the companies and no enforcement implications can be made. Olney also objected that the names of the companies were made public. He said all possible violations have not been verified, and the state is through negotiating to get suspected offenders into compliance without lengthy litigation. For example, one company identified, Doxee Food Corp. of Lewes, recently installed a chlori-nator to clean up its water discharge and now may be in corn-compliance, according to one state official. Doxee yesterday refused to comment on the list. The EPA spokesman said that confidentiality had been a national policy but pressure from people custom many years ago. But crime has changed, and we have to change our techniques to Keep up with it," he said. A neighborhood policeman probably would boost the public image of police, but only temporarily, according to Manelski. "What happens when a lady is getting mugged and the cop is five blocks away? How much is she going to like the police then?" he asked rhetorically. Manelski said more modern patrol techniques provide needed visibility in neighborhoods and are much more effective in preventing crime than are foot patrols. For example, the so-called 1077 unit has the advantages of both a mobile and a foot unit speed plus high visability. A 1077 unit is dispatched when a pattern of similar complaints develops in a three-to four-block area. The officers "We knew any publicity would be worse because of our political affiliations with the governor," he said. "If it were known to people in politics, it would become a political football." He said that Mandel was kept in the dark because "he would have made us disclose it or he would have leaked it out for his political survival." Mandel testified that he did not learn of the track ownership until it was publicly revealed for the first time in March, 1975. lt4 ? - u 'Kit riur flnui nmr whprA by Pat Crowe) centers some emDloves who are still work ing tell a different story. One staffer at Ferris School for example, who said he's been on duty more than 12 hours a day. expressed sympathy with the striking union. "I don't see how we who are working can continue at our present pace," he said. "Some of us are ready to collapse." Other staffers who have been both handling their regular jobs and filling in for union employes said yesterday their nerves are becoming frayed. around the country to reveal the names of suspected offenders changed that, triggering this week's release and the accompanying confusion. Getty Marketing & Refining Co. of Delaware City and NVF of Yorklyn refused to comment on its appearance on the list. A spokesman for Amoco Chemicals Corp. of New Castle said completion of its cleanup program -hinged on New Castle County completing the sewer line to its plant. A spokesman for Sunolin Chemical Co. of Claymont said its program would be complete when Delaware County, Pa., completes its regional treatment plant. EPA is holding up the funding for that. A spokesman for Draper Canning Co. of Milton said he believed that his company was in compliance with applicable laws and was working with the state. He said he did not know why the EPA listed his company. A spokesman for the Du Pont Co.'s Chambers Works plant in Deepwater, N.J., said construction delays at a $54 million sewage treatment plant would postpone its compliance until December. a beat first scout the area by car, then patrol on foot as necessary, according to Manelski. "But the walking man is just not the total solution," Manelski said. He credited sophisticated police techniques with a 50 per cent cut in the city's serious crimes from 8,000 in 1974 to about 4,000 currently. He estimated that each patrolman would cost the department about $18,000 but that wouldn't cover the cost of additional personnel that would be needed to replace them. "If I take men out of the blue and whites marked police cars to put on the street, who am I going to put on service calls?" he asked. The Morning News Published Monday through Friday except holidays by The News-Journal Co. 831 Orange St.. Wilmington, Del. 189 MainoKlce 573-5000 Classified Advertising 5-ol Newark Bureau 738-W From Cecil County 3v-40 Dover Bureau 734-7577 Sussex Bureau 856-7371 Washington Bureau (303 ) 3V3-52M Second-class postage paid at Wilmington, DE. Subscription rates: by mail where home delivery is not available, payable in advance: One year 148 60, 6 months 824.30, 3 months $12.15, I month 84.05. Foreign: One year $75 60, 1 month $6.30. Sold in combination with The News Journal,, published Saturdays and holidays: One year $59.40. 6 months $2 70, 3 months $14.85, 1 month $4.95. Foreign: One year $94.20, 1 month $7.85. Single copy price 15c. Home delivery by carrier 88c, by motor route 98c, sold In combination with The News Journal, published Saturdays and holidays, by carrier $1.05 per week, by motor route $1.15 per week. Member el The Associated Press

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