Washington, DC Store Explosion, Nov 1929
FIVE PEOPLE DIE IN STORE EXPLOSION.
FIFTY OTHERS HURT WHEN BLAST WRECKS CAPITAL "FIVE AND TEN."
Washington, NOv. 21. -- (UP) -- Five persons were dead, more than 30 were in hospitals and more than a score were suffering from less serious injuries tonight as a result of an explosion today in a J. G. McCrory five-and-ten cent store in the crowded downtown shopping district.
The blast tore up the pavement, hurling pedestrians in every direction. The sidewalk directly in front of the store collapsed, carrying with it to the basement several feet below many people passing at the time.
The dead were:
MRS. KITTY COLLINAN, 42.
MRS. ELIZABETH DAWSON, a government employe.
MARY COCKRELL, 2 years old.
MRS. ANNIE COCKRELL, mother of the dead child.
The store explosion was attributed to an overheated steam boiler. Its safety valve apparently failed to work.
A general alarm brought out the city's downtown fire companies, rescue squads, amublances from all hospitals, a detachment of soldiers from Walter Reed hospital and all available police reserves.
The front of the store was completely demolished and the shopping basement partly wrecked. Several adjoining stores were damaged and many windows in the neighborhood were shattered by the blast.
The detonation could be heard for half a mile and the wildest confusion followed it. Employes in the store and shoppers rushed for exits, jamming the doors. Police in the vicinity and several marines and soldiers on recruiting duty nearby rushed to the scene and aided the stampeding, panic-stricken persons out of the building.
Admiral WILLARD, commandant of the Washington navy yard, appeared on the scene and offered to send sailors to assist firemen in their work.
Detective Sergt. BENJAMIN KEUHLING, who was near the store when the boiler exploded said the noise and screams could be heard for blocks.
"I saw a man hurled 30 feet, and a woman shoot straight up in the air," he said. "It was a miracle that at least 20 persons were not killed."
In addition to the hospital cases more than a dozen persons who received minor injuries were treated in nearby offices by physicians who were called to the scene by police.
A gasoline shovel, mounted on a truck, was summoned by police to remove the debris. The wreckage was searched two hours for possible victims before the twisted beams and broken concrete were removed.
Charleston Gazette West Virginia 1929-11-22