GASOLINE EXPLOSION MAY END BOY'S LIFE. ~ Chemical Solution Was Used to Extinguish Flames After the Lad Was Burned.

July 2, 1909

Chemical Solution Was Used to Ex-
tinguish Flames After the Lad
Was Burned.
Ralph Townsend, Probably Fatally Burned in Explosion.

Ralph Townsend, 6 years old, the son of Charles Townsend, 1028 Ella avenue, Kansas City, Kas., was probably fatally burned yesterday afternoon by an explosion of gasoline. The flames enveloped the child's body from his head to his feet, and were extinguished by the use of a chemical solution. An automobile belonging to H. M. Stonebraker, 3928 Baltimore avenue, Kansas City, Mo., was pressed into service and the boy was hurried to Bethany hospital, where he was treated by Dr. W. H. Smith. He was later removed to his home, where at a late hour last night his condition was said to be critical.

The burning of the child was the result of a peculiar accident. The firemen had responded to an alarm from a grocery store at 356 North Tenth street, and Orlando Lind, assistant chief, had entered the building. A gallon can of gasoline was burning near a large tank filled with gasoline. The assistant chief, with a wet sack in his hand, fought his way to the tank and shut off the flow of gasoline. He picked up the small can and attempted to carry it to the street, but just as he reached the outside door a ball was melted from the can and it dropped to the floor. An explosion followed and the flames shot through the screen door. The Townsend boy, with several companions, was standing not far from the door on the sidewalk. The boy's clothing became ignited and he ran screaming across the street, the wind causing the flames to burn fiercely. All attempts to extinguish the fire were futile until the chemical solution, carried by the fire company, was used. The boy's mother and father were burned about the hands in an effort to save the child.