Stillwater Valley News
December 1, 1931
Cletus Barton, 22 years old, a Patterson township farmer, died at the Greenville hospital at 3:30 p. m. Saturday from the effects of severe burns received in a coal oil explosion a few hours earlier. The fatal accident occurred at his home, one and one-half miles north of Versailles on the Gray pike.
At the time of the accident Barton was kindling a kitchen coal fire with coal oil. He was pouring the fluid from a small can which was ignited by the flames. The can exploded, and his head, face and body were sprayed with the flaming fluid.
He received every medical care but attendants state that he never had a chance to live. His body from the waist upward was a charred mass, while his face and hands were blistered to the bone.
Barton had only been married since July 28, 1931, and Friday night he and his wife were belled by neighbors. After the belling, another recently married couple, Mr. and Mrs. LeRoy McEldowney, spent the night at the Barton residence.
McEldowney was in the kitchen when the explosion occurred. Barton ran to a watering trough and tried to extinguish the flames by plunging his head and shoulders into the water. He was unsuccessful, and McEldowney rushed him into the office of Sr. W. C. Gutermuth, Versailles, in a motor car.
First aid treatment was administered there, and Barton was then removed to the Greenville Hospital in an ambulance. He died shortly after his arrival.
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