Akron, OH Explosion Destroyed Cafe, May 1916

Akron OH Main Street View Showing Restaurant.JPG Akron OH Crystal Disaster.jpg

10 DIE IN CAFE CRASH.

AKRON, OHIO, BUILDING OCCUPIED BY RESTAURANT COLLAPSES.

CAUSED BY DYNAMITE BLAST.

TWO PERSONS ARE MISSING AND AT LEAST SCORE INJURED.

CAFE CROWDED WITH DINERS WHEN THE ROOF AND WALLS CAVE IN -- TREMENDOUS ROAR ECHOING THE SCREAMS OF DYING BRINGS THOUSANDS TO SCENE -- VICTIMS UNDER GREAT PILE OF RUINS.

Akron, Ohio, May 15. -- At least ten persons were killed, two are missing and nearly a score injured early this evening when the old Beacon-Journal building, occupied by the Crystal restaurant, collapsed as a result of a blast of dynamite in an adjoining excavation.
EIght identified bodies have been recovered, two unidentified bodies have been found and two persons, now missing, are thought to be in the ruins.
The list of identified dead follows:
WILLIAM C. LAWSON, 486 Woodland avenue, Akron.
H. W. RANEY, 357 East Buchtel avenue, Akron.
The REV. D. S. THOMAS, Cumberland, Md.
BLANCHE KLINE, Mansfield, Ohio.
C. A. TOMPKINS, 1669 Jonathan avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio.
MARY LAWSON, 486 Woodland avenue, Akron.
MRS. ED CALLUP, Cambridge, Ohio.
DOROTHY KENYON, aged 21.
Two girls, unidentified, believed to be waitresses.
Battery B, Ohio National Guard field artillery was called out to aid the police in restraining a crowd of more than 10,000 persons who packed the streets at Main and Quarry, where the accident occurred.
A tremendous roar, echoing the screams of dying people, brought thousands to the disaster scene, in the heart of Akron's business district. Instantly the entire city, rallying under the shock, plunged to the work of rescue.
A great pile of ruins, broken timbers, twisted steel and tons of brick and mortar buried the victims who a moment before were dining in the restaurant.
Eight bodies were soon taken out of the wreckage after firemen, police and volunteer rescuers had worked frantically digging and chopping through the debris.
Nineteen more, many of them fatally injured, were extricated and sent to the City and People's hospitals. Only two or three of the others known to have been in the restaurant succeeded in escaping before the crash.
GEORGE SERRIS, who, with his brother, AUGUSTUS SERRIS, owned the restaurant, escaped from the kitchen of the collapsing restaurant, together with a cook and two dishwashers but all were injured by falling bricks.
Blasts of dynamite set off in an excavation for a new building directly north of the restaurant, unsettled the foundation. The restaurant was a one-story structure with a two-story false front, and the latter toppling backward added a weight of many tons to the falling roof.
A dynamite charge set off 50 feet away from the restaurant a few minutes before the disaster is believed to have been the direct cause. The crash came at 6:10, in the midst of dinner, when the restaurant was crowded and when thousands were on the streets during the evening rush.
So suddenly did the ceiling cave in and the walls crumble that those who were not instantly killed were rendered unconscious. MRS. WILLIAM C. LAWSON, who escaped strangely from the table where she and her husband and their 8-year-old daughter, MARY, were dining together, was the first persons rescued.
The first body to be dug from the tangled heap of debris was that of little MARY LAWSON, her daughter. Firemen dug her out revealing a deep gash on her neck, where she probably had been strangled to death by the edge of the table falling on her. A piece of bread that she was eating was still clutched in her hand.
MISS KENYON, a Western Union telegraph operator, had gone into the restaurant to spend 10 minutes at lunch. She arrived just in time to be crushed to death.

The Washington Post District of Columbia 1916-05-16

Comments

There are some peculiar comments in this articles

There are some peculiar statements and conclusions in this article.

Apparently so suddenly did the ceiling cave in and the walls crumble "that those who were not instantly killed were rendered unconscious". Speed of collapse did not contribute to people being rendered unconscious. Being smothered by debris tends to do that!

A girl "strangled to death" by table falling on and cutting her neck?

And a woman "had gone into the restaurant to spend 10 minutes at lunch" - at 6 pm!