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Family remembers 1970 east Camden explosion that killed parents, brother
Carl's Fireworks - Part One of Two
All Six Kids
The only photograph known to exist of the Hatfield and Lutz children together before the Dec. 17, 1970, deadly explosion and fire at their father, Carl Hatfield Sr.’s fireworks shop on U.S. 1 in east Camden 50 years ago this week. Squatting down at left is Ricky Lutz, 6. Behind him are (from left) Debbie Lutz, 10; Carlein Hatfield, 12, holding infant sister, Carlette Hatfield; Carl Hatfield Jr., 11; and Johnny Hatfield, 8. Johnny died in an ambulance after the explosion that instantly killed his father. Carlein survived, but suffered severe burns. Carl Jr. survived without any injuries after an employee pushed him out the door. Carlette's mother, Elaine Lutz -- Carl Sr.’s fiancé -- died 10 days after the fire after being on life support.
The skies were fair and the temperature at or near 60 degrees around 5:15 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 17, 1970, along U.S. 1 North in east Camden. It had been a little breezy, with winds out of the west at about 12 mph. All in all, a fairly typical day weather wise, if a little bit milder than usual, according to historical weather data.