January 7, 1976: Blast Rocks Accra Pac Plant; Up to 20 or 30 Persons Burned
The big story on this day in 1976 was an explosion at the Accra Pac Inc. factory on the east side of Elkhart. The explosion happened in the aerosol assembly part of the plant, injuring many workers and trapping many more inside until the fire subsided. The flames threatened to ignite nearby tanks of propane, Freon and other chemicals, and when the story was published, authorities were considering evacuating the area. 100 Elkhart firefighters responded to the call, and as many as 30 employees were rushed to the hospital with serious burns. For more stories and photos of the disaster and video interviews with people who experienced it first-hand, visit elkharttruth.com.
Another story on the page tells of two sisters in Amboy, Ind., who foiled a bank robbery at their local Farmers National Bank. One of the sisters disabled the getaway car, the other tied up one of the suspects with her belt and together they delivered him to the police. The other suspect was caught by authorities as he tried to jump onto a passing freight train, and all of the stolen cash was recovered.
An AP report on the page observes the declining popularity of marriage among young adults and the increasing number of young adults living away from their parents.
Meanwhile, Elkhart County’s 1975 fair was named the best in the state by the Indiana Association of County and District Fairs for the third time. Headliners that year included Dolly Parton, Jim Stafford, Danny Davis and the Nashville Brass, plus the Nationwide Demolition Derby. The fair that year raised over $124,855 and drew 217,680 attendees.