Cleveland, OH Clinic Explosion and Fire, May 1929

Cleveland OH Clinic Fire, May 1929, photo from familyoldphotos.com Cleveland OH Clinic Fire, May 1929, photo from familyoldphotos.com

The fumes were so strong as to act almost instantly. Pedestrians caught outside the building fell to the ground and lay unconscious until dragged to safety when the gas lifted. One woman smashed a third floor window and was preparing to leap as firemen spread a life net. She stood poised, the amber gas swirled about her shoulders, and she collapsed, falling inside the building.
Some at unbroken windows, pounding weakly against the glass, and then dropped from sight as the gas choked them. Most of the victims lay clutching their throats, stifled and fighting at the last for air.
STEPHEN WEIZER, elevator operator, was in the car in the basement. He shot the car to fifth floor penthouse and escaped with burns about the face and hands. Two workmen in a coal bin below the X-ray film storage room were jarred but not otherwise injured.
Some of those given oxygen immediately after their removal were expected to live. Hope was dispaired of for others where noxious poison had destroyed the membranes of the lungs.
One policeman described the scene as worse that his experiences in the world war. He had carried out 25 bodies, he said. DR. CARL HELWIG an interne at another hospital, went to Mr. Sinai hospital to aid in resuscitation and came upon his wife who had gone to the clinic for examination. She died as he worked to save her.
LOUIS SOBOUL, whose appointment was cancelled, walked from the structure an instant before the double explosions. SOBOUL said he turned to see victims with their clothes torn away, fighting at the windows for air. Billows of gas swept about them and he fled to Huron road hospital to spread the alarm as the fumes filled the street.
The Cleveland clinic was established by DR. CRILE a few years ago and rapidly rose to a place of prominence in the city's medical centers. The surgeon, noted for his operations for goiter, associated himself with other physicians in the Cleveland clinic foundation and in 1924 a hospital was build for the care of patients.
Official inquiry into the causes of the blast was opened immediately after the bodies had been cleared away.
Coroner A. J. PEARSE prepared plans for an inquest as fire department officials attempted to learn the origin of the fire.

POLICEMAN GIVES LIFE SAVING 21
Cleveland, May 15 -- (AP) -- Policeman ERNEST STAAB, 30, of Number 1 emergency wagon, sacrificed his life to achieve the removal of 21 persons from the blazing gas filled Cleveland clinic. STAAB arrived while the fumes still clogged the entrance but time after time pushed his way into the darkened halls, facing almost certain death.
Some of those he removed were alive tonight, some died as he carried them to open air. But STAAB wouked away as the fatal gas slowly destroyed his lungs. The policeman collapsed after carrying out his twenty-first burden. He followed those he rescued to an emergency cot and died a few hours later.

Plattsburgh Sentinel New York 1929-05-17

NEW LIST OF CLINIC DEAD AND INJURED.
(By Associated Press)
Cleveland, May 16 -- Revised list of dead and injured in Cleveland Clinic disaster:
Dead:
DR. HARRY ANDISON, Cleveland Heights, staff physician.
PHILLIP BADER, Cleveland.
MAX BARTHOLOMEW, Medina, Ohio, sketch artist.
EVELYN BERNLER, clinic employe.
R. E. BISSELL, Cleveland Heights, engineer and patient.
DR. JOHN BORELLO, staff physician at clinic.
DR. ROY A. BRINTNALL, Lakewood, physician on Clinic staff.
WILLIAM J. BROWNLOW, East Cleveland, artist at the clinic.
W. W. BUSBY, Indianapolis.
MRS. W. W. BUSBY, Indianapolis.
MRS. CARL, Cleveland.
MRS. MAY B. CARSE, Cleveland.
ROMEO CASINIO, Cleveland.
MRS. ROSA CASINIO, Cleveland.
RICHARD COLLINS, Cleveland.
MISS MINNIS COSTLEY, Cleveland.
HELEN CHARLOTTE DE HART, Clinic nurse.
MISS FANNIE DEMBROW, Cleveland.
MRS. FLORENCE EPSTEIN, Chicago.
MISS ZANNA FAHEY, technician in X-Ray department at Clinic.
MRS. EVELYN FAYDUER, Akron, Ohio.
HUGO FIELDS, Akron, O.
LILLIAN FIELT, Franklin, Pa.
VIRGIL FLEMING, repairman, Cleveland.
MISS GEORGEIANNA FOWLER, clerk at clinic.
MRS. JOSEPH FRANK, Dunkirk, N.Y.
HERMINE FUERST, East Cleveland, patient.
R. B. FULTON, Cleveland, patient.
MISS GLADYS GIBSON, telephone operator at clinic.
MINNIE GLUMPLIN, Cleveland.
MISS GWENDOLYN GREET, Cleveland.
SAMUEL HAAS, Cleveland Heights.
MRS. CARL HELWIG, Cleveland.
LENORA HOLLENBECK, Middlefield, Ohio, patient.
JEANETTE HOROWITZ, Cleveland.
DR. EDWIN S. HUNTER, staff physician at clinic.
NATE HURD, Cleveland.
MRS. ROSE KAUFMAN, Cleveland.
MISS BERTHA KEMINSKY, Akron, Ohio.
MRS. SAM KORNISISKI, Lakewood.
HENRY LANE, Cincinnati, Ohio.
DR. CHARLES E. LOCKE, Cleveland Heights, brain specialist.
FRANCES LOGAR, Eucil Village.
C. H. LONG, Barberton, Ohio.
MRS. C. H. LONG, Barberton, Ohio.
MRS. FRED LONG, Parsons, W. Va.
MRS. HOPE NADTIER, Youngstown, Ohio.
MARY E. MARKELL, Madison, Ohio.
CLIFFORD E. MARKEL, Madison, Ohio.
MISS SUE MATZ, Rochester, N.Y., nurse at clinic.
MISS MARGARET McKENNA, East Cleveland.
ELTO MOELLER, Elyria, Ohio.
CHARLES MOORE, Cleveland.
MISS EDITH MORGAN, East Cleveland.
MRS. W. C. MULCAHY, Cleveland.
MRS. FLORENCE E. MULLEN, Cleveland.
MISS HELEN O'CONNELL, Elyria, Ohio.
MRS. MARY O'KEEFE, Rome, Ga.
MISS LITTA PERKINS, Lyndhurst, executive secretary of clinic.
DR. JOHN PHILLIIPS, co-founder of clinic and one of its directors.
MISS META PRIMO, address unknown.
MRS. ALICE QUAYLE, Mississippi.
JOHN RALSTON, Wellsville, Ohio, patient.
MRS. HARRY RAMASK, East Cleveland, patient.
C. K. REESE, East Cleveland.
JAMES T. REESE, South Euclid, Ohio.
MRS. FRANCES T. REESE, South Euclid, Ohio.
MRS. FRANCES RICH, New Brunswick, N.J.
MISS MARY RICHARDS, Ashtabula, Ohio.
PATRICK ROGERS, Cleveland, Iceman.
WILLIAM T. ROGERS, Cleveland.
PAUL ROQUEMORE, East Dallas, Tex.

Continued

Comments

John Herbert "Jack" Swafford, MD

My ancestor, Dr. John "Jack" Herbert Swafford, died on June 10, 1929 from injuries sustained in the explosion/fire at The Cleveland Clinic in May 1929. Please add his name to your list of fatalities caused by this horrific explosion/fire.

Directory of Deceased American Physicians, 1804-1929 [database on-line].

Thank you.

T'Lene Bryant Tillotson

Grandfather

My grandfather was killed in this fire. He was getting a physical to be a lineman with the utility company. During the Depression. Things would have been a lot different for my father when his father got the job. My father was only 2 years old. He was on public assistance for most of his childhood.

No I don't think that you can

No I don't think that you can sue them. ;)

The last two relatives were identified by there young son Peter

The last two remaining bodies were identified by son Peter Dumperth.

His father was Harry Conrad Dumperth and his mother was Matilda "Tellie" Leystra Dumperth.

Jeannette Horowitz

Was born in Russia as Jeanette Feigenson and immigrated to the United States.Jeannette worked as a bookkeeper for her sister and and brother in law at the Miller-Becker Company. This company made carbonated soft drinks and may be better known by the name Cotton Club. Jeanette went in to be tested for ulcers and became part of this horrible disaster!

Fire 192

My great grandfather died in this fire after immigrating his family from Italy in the teens. He had ten children. This tragic event did not end that day, but caused much suffering for his progeny for many years to come. Very sad. Thank you for the article and for listing the names of the victims.

Great Uncle killed

wonder if we can sue Cleveland Clinic that killed my great uncle by poison gas? I know it happened in 1929 but can we do that today in 2014?

Cleveland Clinic Explosion

Small world, I had two Uncles that were killed in this exposion. Adam and Arthur Tight

Family that perished

My Father's Sister & her husband were also killed in this explosion.
I am grateful for this article. Now we all know exactly what happened.
Thank you,
There were Rosa & Romero Casino (They have it spelled as Casinio)
Patty

Cleveland Clinic

I'm planning on using this article on the Cleveland Clinic explosion in my next Thriller Thursday blog on October 14th. - giving you credit (and mentioning this site). If this is not all right with you please let me know.

Two of my mother's uncle's sisters-in-law were killed in the disaster.