West Plains, MO Dance Hall Explosion, Apr 1928
The citizenry worked all through the night and today digging in the ruins for bodies. Ten persons still were missing at a late hour today.
All night the workers fought the flames.
The toll mounted steadily today as the embers cooled sufficiently for firemen to enter the ruins. Groups of friends and relatives of the victims gathered weeping outside as the bodies were brought forth.
Few Still Unidentified.
The bodies were taken to morgues for identification. Some were burned beyond recognition. A few were still unidentified tonight. It was hoped that some of the missing had gone to their homes, neglecting to report their safety.
So far as is known, none of the dancers escaped uninjured. Many received treatment for burns and other injuries and some were believed in a dangerous condition.
An investigation into the explosion was started today. The owner of the garage was killed and it could not be learned what caused the blast.
MISS DIMPLES MARTIN, home from college at Memphis for a visit, was at the piano and struck up the last number on the evening's program, "Home, Sweet Home." A terrific explosion came from the garage beneath the dancers' feet and the hall was converted into a twisted mass of wreckage.
Bodies flew through the air. There were heart-breaking screams and cries of agony.
The injured struggled and crawled through the darkness as best they could. Many were too injured to crawl and died in the fire. Some were killed outright by the flying debris or burned to death.
Quickly organized rescue crews pulled many from the wreckage and carried them to hospitals.
List of Dead and Missing.
A partial list of identified dead and missing follows:
Dead -- MR. AND MRS. R. G. MARTIN, West Plains; MISS DIMPLES MARTIN, their daughter; PAUL EVANS, West Plains; MRS. CARL MULLINS, West Plains; MRS. KITTY McFARLAND, West Plains; JOHN BATES, West Plains; LEW REED, West Plains; MISS FRANCES BILLY DRAGO, West Plains; MISS VIRGINIA ROGERS, West Plains; MR. AND MRS. ROBERT MURPHY, Springfield, Mo.; BEN JOLLY, West Plains; MISS EVELYN CONKIN, Kansas City; a man known as "MERIT," last name unknown; CHARLES FISCHER, Ave, Mo.; BEN PARKER, Mountain Grove, Mo.; ALVIN GARNER, Mammoth Springs, Ark.; CARL JACKSON, Mount Grove, Mo.; a MR. AND MRS. JAMES; MISS ICIE L. RISNER, Baier, Mo.; J. N. WEISER, West Plains; Maj. ROBERT MULLINS, West Plains.
Missing -- MRS. VIRGINIA ROGERS, Pleasanton, Kan.; MISS RUTH E. FISHER, West Plains; MRS. MARY VIOLET ADAIR, West Plains; OTTO KELLETT, West Plains; CARSON McLELLAND, West Plains; CHARLES MURK, West Plains; BOYD GARNER, Mammoth Springs, Ark.; MR. AND MRS. JAMES ESCO RILEY, West Plains, MARVIN PAUL HILL, West Plains; HUGH ORION SAMS; BEATRICE BARKER; OLIS B. HOLESTINE; NEWTON RILEY; JUANITA MARIE LAWS; and JAMES W. LOVEN.
Syracuse Herald New York 1928-04-15
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