West Plains, MO Dance Hall Explosion, Apr 1928
Dance Hall Explosion Toll Reaches 39, Ten Unidentified.
Open Probe Into Cause Of Tragedy
Explosion Bulges Walls of Building. Many Land in Street.
$250,000 Property Loss
Owner of Wrecked Edifice Is Among Victims.
West Plains, Mo., April 14 (UP) -- The bodies of 39 persons lay in morgues here tonight -- victims of a "Friday the 13th" dance. A tabulation made late today showed that all except 10 of the dead had been identified.
The corpses in morgues here tonight represented the major part of a group of merry makers from over this entire district who had gathered to celebrate Friday the 13th with a dance.
As the orchestra struck into the mellow strains of "Home Sweet Home: the last dance of the evening, an explosion wrecked the hall, started a city block afire and sent the dancers into a tempest of burning gasoline and oil.
60 in Dance Hall.
About sixty persons were in the hall when the explosion occurred in a garage beneath the dance hall. The adjoining buildings were wrecked.
Fire broke out immediately after the explosion, trapping many persons in the flames.
The explosion hurled the walls of the building outward, throwing several of the dancers into the street. The lighting system was damaged and throughout the night firemen and volunteer workers were forced to grope in the uncertain glare of lanterns and automobile headlights.
Property damage caused by the explosion amounted to approximately $250,000. There were several small stores and shops in the vicinity of the garage and dance hall and these were either blasted to bits or burned by the fire which followed the explosion.
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