Marietta, GA Gas Explosion In Drug Store, Oct 1963

GAS LEAK CAUSE OF GA. EXPLOSION, OFFICIALS THEORIZE.

Marietta, Ga. (AP) -- A massive blast tentatively blamed on a gas leak shattered a crowded drug store at the height of a Halloween celebration Thursday night.
Seven persons were killed and 25 injured, 8 seriously.
The State Crime Laboratory director, Dr. Herman Jones, and other experts at the scene theorized today that a natural gas leak in the basement set off the devastating explosion. Jones took air samples and other specimens in an effort to establish the cause.
Firemen and civil defense workers worked through the night to clear debris in a search for other possible victims. The front portion of the two-story, concrete structure threatened to collapse, hampering rescue operations.
Hundreds of children and adults had come to the town square in this northwest Georgia town for a Halloween parade and window - decorating contest. Marietta, with a population of near 40,000, is 18 miles northwest of Atlanta.
The explosion occurred about 6:30 p.m. shortly after the festivities had come to an end.
Among the dead were JOE BEN CARTER, 33, and his son, TERRY, 7. They had entered the store to buy TERRY a Halloween mask. MRS. CARTER and two other children, DANNY, 10, and BOBBY, 5, were outside the store and suffered cuts from flying glass.
The other victims included MRS. RALPH FOWLER, mother of BOB FOWLER, executive editor of the Marietta Journal; MRS. BETTY JOE CARLISLE, 24, a store cashier; S. A. WHITE, an oil distributor; MRS. OFELIA SCOTT and MRS. MARIE BARFIELD.
All the dead were found inside the building. Twenty-five persons were admitted to a hospital with injuries. Most were treated and later released, but eight were listed in serious condition.
The corner drug store was demolished and windows were broken in stores next door and across the street.

The High Point Enterprise North Carolina 1963-11-01

Comments

I was there on Halloween night

I went with a friend to a party for teens sponsored by the YWCA, which was located down Church St. near the First Baptist Church then.
I remember that the group was doing the Bunny Hop down the sidewalk, up to Atherton's Drug Store. My friend and I quickly walked by the drug store to see who was inside. I didn't see anyone I knew, but then I wouldn't have recognized as many of the older kids who frequented Atherton as my friend would have. She looked inside, and then we moved to another part of the Square.

Shortly after we moved away from the drugstore, we heard a big blast. I thought it was a Halloween prank. But then it was bigger than any prank, maybe a bomb had gone off. Explosion on the Square on Halloween Night.

Soon we learned it was something really serious. Maybe a bomb.

We were put to work to serve coffee and other drinks to the rescue crews. I remember being interviewed by a reporter from "The Atlanta Constitution," and what was written was not what I said. I also had no idea that anyone was killed, or that people were severely injured. It didn't seem as if many people were in the store.

The next day my brother who was a freshman in college in Washington, D.C. called. He had heard about, and it sounded as if more of the town had been affected, not just one part of the Square.

On a later date I learned that Iris Parker, who was in my class at MHS, had been inside, and that she had been injured.

I was just a young 6 year

I was just a young 6 year old getting ready to go Trick or Treating that night. I remember hearing news of the explosion on the radio. Between being so young, the holiday and the fact that the 31st is my birthday I have never forgotten this day.

atherton explosion

I was there it is something I have never forgotten it was like yesterday if I had not onsisted on a store bpught mask I don't know how life would of turned out

marrietta drug store explosin in 1963

yes ma'am my step dad is still alive and is known in this article as DANNY CARTER his little brother and father were the ones killed and he happens to remember this story as if it were yesterday.

EXPLOSION

I WOULD LIKE TO TALK TO SOMEONE THAT REMEMBERS THAT NIGHT. MY MOTHER WORKED AT THE DRUG STORE AND PASSED. BETTY CARLISLE. IF ANYONE REMEMBERS THAT NIGHT PLEASE EMAIL ME . THANKS TAMMY