Sedalia, Mo Explosion At Celebration, Apr 1934

DEATH TOLL TO 3 IN BLAST AT SEDALIA SHOPS.

MERRY BOOSTER PARTY AT MO. PAC. PLANT ENDED IN TRAGEDY LAST NIGHT.

AT LEAST ONE MORE IS EXPECTED TO DIE.

MORE THAN 1,500 HAD GATHERED FOR DINNER -- TO BE PROBED.

Sedalia, Mo., April 12 -- (UP) -- The death toll in an explosion of an improvised steam table over which a group of women were preparing a railroad celebration banquet mounted to three today.
MRS. JOHN T. ABNEY, the wife of a blacksmith, died in a hospital today from burns suffered when scalding water and steam showered her and more than a score of women church workers who were preparing the feast for the 30th anniversary of the Missouri Pacific railroad shops here.
MRS. J. R. HAMPTON, a fellow worker, was reported dying.
(VOLLIE MOORE, 40, died 5 days later.)
Previously two other women, MISS MARY KAHRS and MRS. A. G. HAUSAM had died. Twenty-five other women were in hospitals.
The injured:
MRS. HENRY SHAFFER, condition critical.
MISS ELSIE SWAN.
MRS. JESSIE ANDERSON.
MRS. BEN RUSSELL.
MRS. FRED YOUNG.
MRS. MAX HOLLAND.
MRS. HUGH COLLINS.
MRS. M. H. ROGERS.
MRS. ADA TAYLOR.
MRS. E. B. HELMAN.
MRS. H. H. DEAL.
MRS. F. D. YOUNG.
MRS. J. MOSLER.
MRS. EARL KLEIN.
MRS. HARRY LAMBIRTH.
MRS. ROSS KINDRED.
MRS. RALPH TUNNER.
MRS. ROBERT WARREN.
MRS. GENE CARRY.
MRS. LENA OVERMIER.
MRS. J. G. JOLLY.
MRS. LILLIE BRANDT.
MRS. M. F. WAHRENBROCK.
MRS. JIM GREER.
Sedalia citizens were sitting expectantly at long tables in the new Missouri Pacific Railroad shops, waiting for their dinner and preparing to listen to a program of speeches, when the dull thud of an explosion sounded from the improvised kitchen where about 30 women were ready to serve the meal.
Then came the hissing roar of escaping steam. Within a moment, the kitchen was turned into a bedlam. The screams of burned women sounded above the spraying water.
The exploded pipe broke down a kitchen wall and it collapsed on the hapless victims. Tables were overturned. Kitchen utensils were thrown to the floor by the force of the blast.
MISS MARY KAHRS, 60, was knocked down. Scalding water rushed over her body. A huge earthen crock fell from her table, and broke both her legs. She died within an hour.
MRS. A. G. HAUSAM died early today in the hospital from severe burns.
Three other women were in a critical condition, treated by emergency town and railroad nurses who worked in relays throughout the night. About a score suffered less serious burns.
"It is a tragedy that is almost unbelieveable," said Mayor Wilmer Steeples this morning. "The railroad, I understand, is intending to make an investigation."
The banquet was to have climaxed a day of celebration for the Missouri Pacific Railroad and Sedalia.
New shops, constructed at a cost of more than $1,500,000, had been open to inspection of the public throughout the day. More than 5,000 persons had passed through the new building.
At night, 1,500 railroad men and townspeople gathered in the huge structure to end the celebration with a banquet. The Sedalia church women had banded together to prepare the huge meal.
They were working in the improvised kitchen all day. They had cooked the meat and the vegetables and were ready to start serving when the explosion ripped open the pipe.
The banquet was called off by Guy T. Callendar, shop superintendent, as hundreds of men fought their was to the kitchen to render aid. Some men knew their wives were in the kitchen, that perhaps they had been scalded by the water or struck by fragments of the crumbled wall.
Only one physician, DR. CORD BOHLING, was on the scene. He took charge, sending out an emergency call for nurses, doctors and ambulances.
For more than an hour, the doctors worked in the kitchen. The women were given hasty first aid, then rushed by ambulances and private automobiles to the Bothwell Hospital.

Jefferson City Post-Tribune Missouri 1934-04-12

Comments

1934 Explosion at Sedalia, Mo. railroad shops

My great-grandmother was Mrs. Henry Schaefer. She did die of her injuries. I have read about this explosion in newspapers that my grandmother kept. The local papers covered the funerals of the women. It was very tragic. My great- grandfather eventually remarried, but I don't think my grandmother ever accepted her "step-mother".