Excelsior Springs, MO Sanitarium Blast, Aug 1936

The Ball Clinic Main Building 1930's

MAN KILLED IN BLAST AT SANITARIUM.

TWO OTHERS INJURED BY EXPLOSION WHICH SHAKES ALL OF EXCELSIOR SPRINGS.

TAXI DRIVER STRUCK BY FLYING BRICKS.

BODY OF PAINTER EXTRICATED FROM BASEMENT AN HOUR AFTER EXPLOSION.

Excelsior Springs, Mo., Aug. 22. AP -- One man was killed, two others were injured and several narrowly escaped entombment today when a 1-story brick building at the Ball Health School here was wrecked by an explosion of undetermined origin which shook the city.
WILLIAM HILDIEBRAND, 24, maintenance worker at the institution, was killed when the concrete first floor crushed him as he worked in the basement.
The injured were LEE KNOTE, Excelsior Springs, an employe of DR. S. E. BALL, head of the health school, and W. W. CUPP, a taxi driver. KNOTE, who was closing windows in the building when the explosion occurred, was blown about 15 feet through a door into the street. He suffered lacerations and bruises.
CUPP was injured slightly when flying bricks and debris crashed into his motor car as he was driving past the building. He drove farther down the street, parked his cab and returned to the scene.
Damage was estimated tentatively at $10,000 to $15,000 by firemen and city officials, but expensive clinical equipment housed in the building was not fully included in the estimate.
DR. BALL declined to estimate the damage but indicated the loss would exceed $15,000.
Fire Chief PAYNE said HILDIEBRAND was painting in the basement when the explosion occurred. His body was not extricated until an hour after the explosion. City Firemen BOYER and WARREN SWEARINGEN received minor scratches in the rescue work.
The unit wrecked was built for a women's bath house, but later converted into a clinic. It had been closed recently for remodeling as a general office. The general building of the school is located a block from the scene of the explosion.
DR. BALL said the loss was covered by insurance.
The explosioin was followed by a small blaze. Crowds at the scene became so large at one time that Chief PAYNE roped off the street to enable firemen to search for HILDIEBRAND'S body.
City officials said an investigation will be made to determine cause of the explosion. Chief PAYNE expressed opinion the explosion may have been gas seeping from sewer mains.
The wrecked building is only a block from the city's main street and an equal distance from Siloam Park, where the new hall of waters project is under way.
Wreckage of the building was hurled a block away, but no one was hurt. Several persons standing in an alley near the building narrowly escaped injury from flying bricks. The south wall of the building was ordered razed to prevent another collapse. A theater across the street from the building was not damaged.
DR. BALL indicated a new structure would be constructed soon.
"This is the worst explosion that has occurred here so far as I know," said BERNARD S. ALNUTT, city manager. "It is fortunate no one else was injured and killed."
Employes of the BALL organizatioin said HILDIEBRAND had been employed there only a few weeks and that they had no record of his address.

Moberly Monitor-Index Missouri 1936-08-22