Sioux City, IA Apartment Explosion, Feb 1979


Sioux City (AP) -- Firemen planned to resume their search Saturday morning for the body of the elderly man still missing in the wake of a fire and series of explosions Thursday at the Carroll Apartments that injured nine others.
Fire Chief Robert Arnold said the body of FLORENCE LaFLEUR, 74, was found in the rubble Friday. She lived in a first floor apartment just inside a side entrance.
Still missing was ALFRED KOBOLD, 67, who also lived in first floor apartment near the center of the building.
In critical condition Friday were WILMER OSTBERG, 88, and ARTHUR GRIFFIN, 79. Two firefighters also remained hospitalized. RANDY PRITCHARD, 25, was reported in good condition, and GARY JUNGE, 28, was listed in satisfactory condition.
The others were treated and released.
The apartment building and annex had a combined total of 70 apartment units. The manager of the building said about half the residents were elderly.
City officials were bringing in heavy equipment to finish demolishing the building, which burned into the night Thursday after breaking out about 12:40 p.m.
Meanwhile, the Red Cross set up an emergency center for the homeless 96 living residents and asked for donations of food, clothing and furniture.
The center was set up a short distance from the burned out building.
During a news conference Friday, officials brought up a list of five fire code standards that city records whowed were violated. One of the standards had to do with wiring in the basement of the building.
Fire officials, based on the reports of firefighters on the scene shortly after the alarm brought in all city units and some from South Sioux City, Neb., said they thought the fire started in the laundry room.
But Arnold -- later claiming the situation had been rectified -- said the violations were not serious enough to have been the actual cause of the fire and an arson investigation team was looking into the matter.
"What we're concerned about is how the fire managed to spread so fast," said Ray Mahr, fire prevention bureau spokesman.
Mahr was the author of a document which said the 65 year old, four-story Carroll Apartments was in "dangerous condition; bordering on unfit for human occupancy."
Arnold contended that the violations were taken care of and were so noted in a building inspection three months ago, despite the lack of documentation when the building citations were released Thursday night.
Police and fire officials credited three teenage boys with averting the loss of more lives.
The three ran through the building and knocked on doors to warn residents. They carried some out.
The three -- MIKE KROMMENHOEK and JOHN SAMSON, both 17, and GREG McCADE, 16 -- attended a Sioux City Public Schools vocational training center across the alley from the apartment building.
They were returning from lunch when they smelled smoke and went to investigate.

Oelwein Daily Register Iowa 1979-02-03