Newark, DE Restaurant Explosion, Dec 1976


Newark, Del. (UPI) -- Twenty-three people were injured Wednesday in a gas explosion and fire which destroyed a local McDonald's hamburger restaurant.
"It's a miracle no one was killed," said Newark fire chief William Jarrell after examining the wrecked building. The fast food restaurant was damaged so badly it was condemned and ordered torn down by city officials.
The blast occurred about 9:30 a.m. in the rear kitchen area, blowing out one entire wall and part of another, caving in part of the roof and shattering all the windows.
LEE DUCKART, owner of the restaurant, said 14 employes were in the building at the time, in addition to an unknown number of customers.
Most of the injured received cuts from flying glass and burns caused by a fire that began after the blast. The blaze was quickly extinguished by firemen.
The Newark Medical Center, where all the injured were taken, reported treating 23 people, releasing all but two of them.
The two more seriously injured victims were transported to the Wilmington Medical Center for treatment. They are, FARON JOHNSON, 20, of North East, Md., assistant manager of the restaurant, who suffered first and second degree burns; and JOAN BROWN, 30, of Newark, a McDonald's employe, who suffered internal injuries.
JOHNSON was hospitalized in guarded condition and BROWN was listed in good condition.
Newark police chief William Brierley said the blast was caused by a gas leak in the kitchen that was apparently ignited by an oven pilot light.
Brierly said it was fortunate the explosion occurred early in the morning when there were relatively few customers, rather than during the busy lunchtime period.
Authorities were alerted bo the explosion by a citizens band radio operator over a special emergency channel. The CB operator was not identified.

The Cumberland News Maryland 1976-12-02


McDonalds Explosion of 76

I was actually an employee working when this happened. I was working the closest to the french fry vault by the wall that blew out. I may have waited on one or two of you. All these years I have remembered it as you all described and didn't know if it was just me or what. The effect was slow motion, the building blew up, than out. I thought an atomic bomb had been dropped. Blew me right through the counter. The next day I was unable to move at all due to the power of the blast. All muscles were traumatized. Never received any compensation for those injuries. Mcdonalds wrote checks to customers but I as an employee was offered nothing. We were fortunate that day to have survived with as little injuries as we had.

McDonald's Explosion

I was also in this McDonald's when it happened. I was with my friends. We were also cutting our classes at Newark High. I was at the counter ordering when all of a sudden the counter began to rise straight up. Everything seemed as if it was in slow motion. As the counter rose up in the air, people and things were flown in my direction. I remember turning around and the force of the blast threw me towards the door. Just as I reached the glass doors, the glass shattered and I exited right through them. I never had to open it. When I got outside, there were pieces of shattered glass all in my hair and my glasses had been blown off of my face. I never did find them. We were all pretty shaken up. It was an experience I will never forget and hope to never repeat.

McDonalds explosion Newark De

Hi. I was in McDonalds as well when this happened. We were cutting class at Newark High. I was in McDonalds with a couple of friends when the explosion happened. We were standing at the counter and were tossed through the glass of the front doors. I also never heard a thing and it all played out in slow motion. It was a very traumatic but wild experience.

I remember...

everyone at school asking "did you hear about McDonalds? It exploded". I went to look at the restaurant later that day. The entire front counter was thrown forward and was melted, teetering towards the floor.

I was 11 years old.....

when this happened.... it was all over the regional and national news.... luckily no one got killed. I worked there for a year or two in high school, after it was rebuilt.

McDonalds explotion

I remember that too. I was one of the people inside the McDonalds when it blew up. Along with three of my friends, we cut class at Newark, High school and sat down inside. I remember a flash of light and it was like someone turned on a giant fan. It tossed us onto the floor and we stood confused and looked at each other then started to run. Funny thing, none of us recall ever hearing an explostion!


Thanks for posting this, I actually remember when this happened (I was a little kid then), and we became a Burger King family for the better part of a year while they rebuilt.