Cincinnati, OH Building Explosion, Dec 1940

BLAST KILLS 8 AND INJURES 12 IN CINCINNATI.

FOUR FAMILIES BLOWN FROM BEDS; BUILDING WRECKED.

CIncinnati, Dec. 17 (AP) -- Members of four families were blasted out of their beds by a pre-dawn explosion that wrecked a three-story downtown building and killed eight to 11 persons today.
Twelve persons were injured and three were missing in the pile of brick, kindling and dust that until 3:30 a.m. had been a structure housing business establishments on the first floor and apartments on the upper floors at the northern edge of the market district. Eleven children were among the victims.
While the cause was not determined immediately, Joe Hughes, 57, who lived across the street said the explosion "was like a puff from igniting gas." Windows were blown out for blocks by the repercussion which shook nearby buildings, according to Hughes, "like a ship on high seas."
Some of the bodies were so badly torn they could not be identified immediately.
Screams of adults and children trapped in the debris, spurred emergency squads of police and firemen as they dug into the ruins. Assistant Fire Chief Chris Williams said that those who didn't die of injuries were suffocated by smoke and dust.
Apartments were occupied by the families of FRANK SCHNETZER, ROBERT SMITH, RAYMOND ROY and JACK MORGAN.
Identified dead were:
JOSEPH KOEBBE, 33.
DORA SMITH, 9.
HELEN SCHNETZER, 8.
LEONARD SCHNETZER, 7.
FRANK SCHNETZER, 43.
LILLIAN SCHNETZER, 42, his wife.
Her newly born baby.
CARRIE SCHNETZER, 22.
JACK MORGAN, 28.
FRIEDA MORGAN, 23, his wife.
JOSEPH SCHNETZER, 2 1/2.
ELMER "JACK" CAMPBELL.
ROBERT MORGAN, 12.
JULIUS SCHNETZER, 51.
Minor fires broke out but were quickly smothered by clouds of dust or checked by firemen using every available piece of apparatus.
"It came as a terrific 'whoosh'," reported Patrolman Tom Kaufman, who was walking his beat two squares away at the time.
Only a pile of bricks and dust remained where the twin-apartment building, housing four families, stood. Windows were shattered for blocks. Pieces of clothing hung grotesquely from utility wires. One pair of men's trousers were "pegged" securely to a wall by a chair leg.
Police estimates placed the number of persons in the building at 20 -- the families of RAYMOND ROY, FRANK MORGAN, MRS. LILLIAN SCHNETZER and HUBERT SMITH.
The four ROY children were among those treated for minor injuries at the hospital.
MRS. ROY said: "We live on the third floor. Before we knew it, we were in the basement. How we got there I don't know. They got me out from under a bed."

Gettysburg Times Pennsylvania 1940-12-17