Continued from Louisiana Ord. Plant I.

 Pel-I-Can News, Compliments of Theresa Bunner, Class of 1946

July 31, 1962






Last Saturday marked the 40th anniversary of LAAP explosion
Webster Parish News
Friday, 15 August 2008
Where were you at 7:12 a.m. exactly 40 years ago tomorrow, August 16, when the earth moved under a violent explosion at the Louisiana Army Ammunition (Ordinance) Plant?

At that time, when America was involved in a deadly conflict with Vietnam, the thunderous, teeth-rattling vibration from the explosion was a very scary thing.

I was working on C line when F line exploded and I can remember HE charges exploding all day and for the most part of the week. I was 25 years old,the youngest inspection forman on the load lines.It doesn't seem like 40 years ago.
Ronnie hennigan '61

     My name is Amelia (Richardson) Benner.  I lived at the Plant from 1963 to 1967 while I was in high school.  I use to tell people I could never claim "getting on the wrong bus" 'cause the bus we rode was Army green and "short".  Didn't want to walk the 15 miles home, either!!

I remember the houses were comfortable, but then army reservation houses were pretty much all I knew.  My dad was the Safety Director at the Plant. 

 That is another story!  I worked at the Plant for a year.  One day the line I was on went down and several of the head honchos were coming around to investigate the problem.  When the little group got to my area, my dad goes, Well, Amelia, what seems to be the problem?"  I said, "I don't know, daddy."  Not the greatest answer and my fellow workers just looked at me.   "Your dad is THE Safety Director, you didn't tell us."  "You never asked!"  We all had name tags, but that didn't mean we were related to anyone in the offices.  My fellow linesmen didn't speak to me for a couple of weeks.  Afraid I'd snitch on them about the unsafe practices we did on the line.  How

could I snitch, I was usually the one starting the unsafe practices!!   On another line I worked on my job was to clean the empty shells with acetone.  I also had chalk in hand to mark imperfections on the shells.  Chalk also has another us, to write on the shells.  Thinks such as "make love, not war", the peace symbol, and various other anit-war slogans.  My supervisor, a blue-eyed Indian named Pierce could be heard all along the line yelling, "Richardson, quit writing on the shells!!"  Don't know how that one never got back to my dad. Thanks for the memories!     

Amelia Benner

W. H. Nielsen: Bob's sister, Madalyn Lyle, married Frank Nielsen, this man's son, when she was about 16 years old. They lived in a little apartment on 1st or 2nd street near the First Baptist Church when they first married. Madalyn worked on the switchboard at LAAP.

G. L. Lyle, Master Mechanic, was Bob's father and my beloved father-in-law. Bob's family lived on Buchanan St. His neighbors, were Rob Martin, Joyce Humphries, Dottie Day, Neil Baker, Mary Ellen Bailey, Clifton Salmon, and others. The home on the corner of East & West and Buchanan was a duplex at that time. The Farrellys lived in one side. Mr. Farrelly, who also worked at LAAP lived in one side. Mr. Farrelly, who later, as did the Lyles. Their son, Peter Farrelly, went on to become well-known in the movie industry, along with Tam Spiva who lived in the large Stewart home at the intersection of  of East & West, Elm, and Homer Road. Bob's brother, Leonard and Tam Spiva, were good buddies, and they spent a lot of time together, letting Bob tag along with them sometimes. They were 5 years older than Bob.

Minden Herald

2 March 1945


 On February 27, 1945

Miss Della Katherine Brown was interred in  Section E of the Minden City Cemetery. She was born 12 July 1927 and died 24 Jun 3, 1945.

War Ended - 4000 Lop Workers Expect TO BE TERMINATED SOON. 

What a mixture of emotions THIS news must have brought. Joy to have a war end and know loved ones would be coming home. Financial worries knowing soon be unemployed and without income to support a family.                                   

Submitted by Earlene Mendenhall Lyle

( Does anyone know about Gloria Crossno 23 of Doyline, Louisiana

She was related to Dr. Virginia Crossno and Champ Crossno. There was also  another sister whose name is unknown to me who died in a nursing home in Ruston, Louisiana around 2003. 

According to Champ Crossno, the brother, the explosion from a shell getting stuck in a casing. Gloria Crossno's father was was at the plant waiting for her to get off work and Champ said her father never got over her tragic death. She was buried in Salisaw, OK. where she was from.

Sumitted by Carolyn Sale McDaniel

 If so, please E-Mail us at MindenMemories@AOL.COM



 On February 27, 1945

Miss Della Katherine Brown was interred in  Section E of the Minden City Cemetery. She was born 12 July 1927 and died
24 Jun 3, 1945.

Question.  When did the explosion occur?  Did it happen on February 27, 1945 or 24 Jun 3 1945.  If it happened on 24 June, 1945, it was on my sixth birthday.  What a birthday present.

I'm sure that my father, Ralph Wayne Bailey, was still working at the Louisiana Ordnance Plant as a fireman when the above incident occurred.   Perhaps someone on this board can provide more elaboration.  Anyhow, my father often told of an explosion at the "Shell Plant" that he had responded to.     And, he mentioned that two different people had died in the explosion.   One was a woman and the other a man.  This may not be exactly right, but as I remember the story, the man was trying to remove a fuse that had cross threaded when it was being installed in a shell or bomb.  He said that the item that exploded was a bomb, however I have no way of proving or disproving his statement.  The headline says a shell exploded, but that may be incorrect, too.    During the male worker's efforts to remove the improperly installed fuse, it exploded.   I think that dad said that the man was sitting with his legs around the bomb while leaning forward to unscrew the fuse.  It is a vague memory for me. 

f we can get the list of the fireman's names I can prove some of this--especially if the name Simmons is on the list.  Supposedly, one of dad's childhood friends, this Mr. Simmons, was a fireman at the "Shell Plant," too.  And, this friend reported to the site of the explosion, along with dad's unit.  The following seems to validate some of this story.  Dad's friend immediately went to a young lady that was injured in order to render assistance, he may have lifted her upper body in the process, and she took one last loud gasp and "died in the arms" of my dad's childhood friend.  My father always said that the girl died in Mr. Simmons arms.  And, I've been told that the friend never did get over the incident.  In fact, he committed suicide several years later.  My family went to the wake and I remember it well. 

The other person that I know died as a result of the explosion was a male worker wearing coveralls.  From all appearances, he was in good shape when the firemen arrived.  However, when a fireman grabbed the top of his coveralls to drag him clear of the explosion site, his body collapsed downward into the seat of the coveralls.  Apparently, his entire skeletal system had been crushed by the force of the explosion.   These are the only two deaths that my dad mentioned, and it tends to match the news story in that regard.

I'm hoping that someone else that had relatives working at the Louisiana Ordnance Plant can help with this recollection.  I know that some of it is absolutely correct as told to me by my dad, way back when.   Dad may have had some of it wrong, but I'm quite sure that some things are frozen into one's mind forever, particularly an horrific event like this.   (Nolan Bailey)


The four news paper articles that were here have been moved to the bottom of La. Ord. Plant I

Pel-I-Can, compliments of Theresa Matthews Bunner, Class of 1956


Mrs. Theresa M. Bunner, Industrial Property Clearance Specialist, Completed 15 years service. Mrs. Bunner resides in Minden, La., and

graduated from MHS in 1846.

Doug (Red) Cupples graduated from Minden High School in 1954.

Today, you might find him on the MHS football field assisting the high school football coaching staff.

He married his high school sweetheart, Cortez David. They still live in Minden, Louisiana.


Submitted by Theresa M. Bunner, Class of 1946