Mount Gilead, OH Fireworks Explosion, Aug 1982


Mount Gilead, Ohio (UPI) -- Investigators said Saturday they may never know what caused an explosion that ripped a fireworks factory, killing three workers.
Officials from the U.S. Department of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and investigators from the state fire marshal's hazardous materials team joined local authorities in the investigation of Friday's explosion at the Rainbow Fireworks Manufacturing Co.
Killed were plant owner JERRY SICILIANO, 42, Mount Vernon; and employees DAVID B. SCHENKEL, 20, and RAYMOND LEE HAMLIN, JR., 20, both of Marengo. SICILIANO'S wife, MARIA, 33, and one of her three children were slightly injured.
Morrow County Sheriff Tom Harden said investigators had little to work with in their efforts to determine the cause of the blast.
"With nothing left here, there's a possibility we'll never known what happened," he said. "We just haven't found enough of the remains."
The explosion at the plant, located near the tiny community of Chesterville about 40 miles north of Columbus, was so powerful it scattered debris over a four-acre area.
"It was a massive explosion. It completely blew that thing to bits, and I mean bits," said Morrow County Emergency Medical Service Coordinator Olen Jackson.
Jackson said the plant consisted of three seperate buildings. One -- a single-story concrete block building -- was completely destroyed. Only the owner and the two workers were inside the destroyed building.
The injured woman was in the second building, the roof of which was shredded.

Hutchinson News Kansas 1982-08-08