West Plains, MO Dance Hall Explosion, Apr 1928

West Plains MO Explosion Disaster Monument.JPG

Fire followed almost immediately as it destroyed three buildings before it was brought under control. Property loss is estimated at between $100,000 and $15,000. [Transcriber note -- As written in paper]

The dead:
PAUL EVANS, JR., West Planes.
MR. AND MRS. R. G. MARTIN, West Planes.
CHARLES FISHER, high school student, Ava, Mo.
MRS. KITTIE McFARLAND, West Planes, undertaker.
JOHN BATES, son of REV. J. F. B. BATES, West Planes.

J. E. WEISER, head of the WEISER Motor company in whose building the explosion occurred.
Twenty-three unidentified bodies are in two undertaking establishments here.

Many of the injured victims were picked up on the streets far from the scene of the blast. H. C. ALLEN a prominent merchant was blown 55 feet and was found with both legs broken and an arm torn off.

The intense heat from the fire and the damage to the power plant by the explosion hindered rescue workers in their attempt to penetrate the ruins. Soon after the explosion the walls of the building collapsed.

The dance was being held on the second floor of a two story building the first floor being used as a garage and motor car sales room. Officers today are investigating a report that a large gasoline storage tank was thought to have been under the building caused the blast.

Out of town residents in attendance at the dance were not included in the list of missing but it is believed the bodies of many from surrounding towns who attended the dance would be found in the debris.

A rain early in the evening had materially reduced the attendance at the dance which was a weekly affair sponsored by a local orchestra.

Thirty to forty couples were dancing when the blast came. At 11 o'clock when the dance was at its height J. J. WEISER owner of the building opened the back door of the garage on the first floor below. A motorist had called him from his home for gasoline. As the garage door swung open a terrific explosion occurred.

The Constitution Tribune Chillicothe Missouri 1928-04-14

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West Plains Explosion

Found this site which has photos that pertain to this disaster. I was born in West Plains Missouri.