DISASTERS: Engine Fire

Only a few stood in the chill Sunday sun as the pot-bellied Curtiss Commando began to roll along the east-west runway of Newark Airport. Aboard the crowded war-surplus craft: four crewmen, 52 passengers, bound for Tampa at nonscheduled Miami Airline's bargain rates ($39.74 for grownups, half fare for children). The heavily loaded Commando gathered speed, got her tail up. Black smoke plumed from her, and swirled in the propeller blast.

Newark control tower to airport crash crew, 3:04 p.m.: "Get out on Field. Stay off runway. Craft taking off to W£st. Smoking right...

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