Peoria, IL Gas Explosion, Jan 1957

THREE DEAD; ONE MISSING IN BLAST.

Peoria, Ill. (AP) -- Three persons, and possible a fourth, perished in two rapid-fire explosions in a city gas line that leveled a house and two-story building last night.
Five other persons were injured.
Killed by the blasts and subsequent fire were PERRY TRAUB, 40, operator of a grocery store; JOHN J. HEITZMAN, 62, owner of the dwelling and the commercial building; and ROBERT EINFELDT, JR., 11, whose body was uncovered in the rubble today. The boy was HEINTZMAN'S grandson.
The child's father, ROBERT J. EINFELDT, about 45, son-in-law of HEINTZMAN, was missing and a search continued for his body.
EINFELDT'S other son KENNETH, 8, and HEITZMAN'S wife OPAL, 60, escaped from the house after the blasts. MRS. HEINTZMAN suffered severe burns and cuts and her condition was desceibed as "serious." The boy was only slightly injured.

Chester Times Pennsylvania 1957-01-17

Comments

Mrs Opal Heitzman condition improved

From the Decatur Daily Review, 21 Jan 1957, Mon, Page 20:
Former Decatur Woman Improving After Blast

Mrs. Opal Robb Heitzman, formerly of Decatur, who was injured in a Peoria gas explosion last Wednesday, was reported improving in Peoria's St. Francis Hospital today by her sister, Mrs. Otto McCune, of N. Main St.

Mrs. Heitzman's husband, John, was among four persons killed in two blasts that leveled a store and a house.
..........................................................................................................
John J Heitzman was my father's first (paternal) cousin. For his Daughter, Margaret O Heitzman Einfeldt, I can think of nothing worse than losing, in one terrible event, your Father, your Husband, and a Son. Margaret passed over 15 years ago now but my heart still breaks for her and her other son Kenneth.