Newark, DE Restaurant Explosion, Dec 1976
23 HURT IN EXPLOSION, FIRE AT McDONALD'S.
Newark, Del. (UPI) -- Twenty-three people were injured Wednesday in a gas explosion and fire which destroyed a local McDonald's hamburger restaurant.
"It's a miracle no one was killed," said Newark fire chief William Jarrell after examining the wrecked building. The fast food restaurant was damaged so badly it was condemned and ordered torn down by city officials.
The blast occurred about 9:30 a.m. in the rear kitchen area, blowing out one entire wall and part of another, caving in part of the roof and shattering all the windows.
LEE DUCKART, owner of the restaurant, said 14 employes were in the building at the time, in addition to an unknown number of customers.
Most of the injured received cuts from flying glass and burns caused by a fire that began after the blast. The blaze was quickly extinguished by firemen.
The Newark Medical Center, where all the injured were taken, reported treating 23 people, releasing all but two of them.
The two more seriously injured victims were transported to the Wilmington Medical Center for treatment. They are, FARON JOHNSON, 20, of North East, Md., assistant manager of the restaurant, who suffered first and second degree burns; and JOAN BROWN, 30, of Newark, a McDonald's employe, who suffered internal injuries.
JOHNSON was hospitalized in guarded condition and BROWN was listed in good condition.
Newark police chief William Brierley said the blast was caused by a gas leak in the kitchen that was apparently ignited by an oven pilot light.
Brierly said it was fortunate the explosion occurred early in the morning when there were relatively few customers, rather than during the busy lunchtime period.
Authorities were alerted bo the explosion by a citizens band radio operator over a special emergency channel. The CB operator was not identified.
The Cumberland News Maryland 1976-12-02