School honors pupil killed in 1953 blast

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HEPHZIBAH - A Richmond County elementary school has installed a plaque in honor of a 6-year-old pupil who died in an explosion at the school nearly 60 years ago.

The plaque was hung last week at Hephzibah Elementary in honor of Gilda J. Martin. She was crushed by debris when two boys smoking near a gas leak caused an explosion in the gymnasium in 1953.

Martin's great-nephew, 15-year-old Matthew Bishop, a student in the Richmond County district, pushed for her to be honored. He collected more than 300 signatures on a petition asking that the school be named after Martin. Five students were injured in the blast.

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