Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

December 5, 2019
In 1944, funerals held for victims of explosion at smelter

The Tooele Transcript Bulletin has published Tooele County news since 1894. Here is a flashback of local front-page news from 25, 50, 75 and 100 years ago that occurred during the first week of December.

Dec. 6-8, 1994

A former employee at Tooele Army Depot’s chemical weapons incinerator claimed he was denied a chance to address a state committee during the week concerning allegations that the facility was unsafe for Tooele County.

Steve Jones, former safety manager at the incineration facility, claimed he was told “no” when he asked for time on the agenda of the monthly meeting of the Chemical Demilitarization Citizens Advisory Board.

The committee was set up to advise Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt on chemical weapons disposal.

Later in the week, angry taxpayers told Tooele County officials that they expected county government to become more responsible.

Several hundred taxpayers attended a public hearing at the County Courthouse and their resounding message was “don’t raise our taxes.”

County Commission Chairman Leland Hogan managed to keep the rowdy crowd in check while enduring several attacks on his character and past record in office.

The taxpayers also strafed Tooele County Public Health Department officials with several critical comments. A proposed tax increase would supply extra money to the health department to operate.

Dec. 2-5, 1969

Youth from Tooele County planned to join some 2,000 other Utah boys as part of the Bantam Basketball program sponsored by the Utah National Guard.

First Sgt. Clifford C. Miller said that registration and tryouts for Tooele County teams would be held on Dec. 6 at the National Guard Armory. Boys ages 11-13 as of Dec. 1 were invited to participate.

“There are no initial fees, but players will need a warm-up suit and gym shoes,” Sgt. Miller said. League play was scheduled for Jan. 1.

Later in the week, the front page featured news of the first concert to be held at the new Tooele High School Auditorium.

The school’s concert and symphonic bands would present their annual Christmas Concert on Dec. 11.

Roy Ferrin, THS band director, said that even though the auditorium is not completed in detail, the essentials were there and it was the best place in Tooele to hold a concert.

Dec. 5-8, 1944

Three victims of the slag pot explosion at the International Smelting and Refining Company plant from the previous week were buried Monday afternoon with the smelter shutting down for the day in homage of the dead workmen. 

Two funeral services were held, with a double funeral service for two men who were brothers-in-law.

A capacity group of mourning kinsmen, fellow workers and towns people made up the congregations at the LDS First Ward Chapel.

Later in the week, a fourth victim died at LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City after sustaining burns in the slag pot explosion at the smelter. Hope was held out for his recovery until he unexpectedly died about 10 p.m. on Dec. 5.

Dec. 5, 1919

The Tooele County commissioners met in a regular Monday session.

Robert B. Sagers, Jr. received $150 for the purchase of a gravel pit that was situated on his land for the use of the county.

Miss Alice Hanks was appointed stenographer for the Sheriff’s office. Miss Vely Adamson, who had been the stenographer for some time past, had resigned to accept a position with the Tooele County School Board.

Correspondent Mark Watson compiled this report.

Mark Watson

Sports Editor at Tooele Transcript Bulletin
Mark directs all editorial coverage of sports in addition to reporting on a wide range of events from high school football to international racing. He has a wealth of journalism experience, having worked for four other newspapers in the state. Mark grew up in Tooele County and graduated from Grantsville High School and Brigham Young University.

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