AUTOS: Disaster's Bottleneck

At General Motors' modern, air-conditioned brick plant in Livonia, Mich, one day last week, the second shift had just filed in to start a normal day's work turning out Hydra-Matic transmissions for G.M., Lincoln, Kaiser, Hudson and Nash. Moments later, sparks from a welder's torch ignited an oil-soaked conveyor belt; suddenly flames leapfrogged from one drip pan to another. After that said Foreman Floyd Davis, everything "went up like a torch."

Volunteer firefighters made the mistake of turning a hose on the blaze, only helped to spread it. Soon a blazing oil tank set a tar roof afire, sending a...

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