Nampa, ID fireworks explosion, Jul 1937
PREMATURE FOURTH BLAST KILLS FOUR
By United Press.
NAMPA, Idaho, July 2. - This town's Fourth of July celebration was ended abruptly today after an explosion of fireworks in a drug store that killed four and injured more than 20 people.
At least 12 of the injured were in a critical condition.
Mayor R. Lewis Ord ordered that no more fireworks be sold or exploded in the city limits.
The explosion and fire destroyed a two-story building in the center of town. Two children and two women were killed.
The fireworks were heaped on a display counter and the young son of E. L. Drake, drug store proprietor, was showing them to a friend. Somebody tossed a lighted firecracker onto the counter.
There were several sharp reports and then a thunderous roar. Roman candles and sky rockets flashed across the room, shot out plate glass windows, ignited the holiday display of flimsy crepe paper that hung from the ceiling. Torpedoes, giant firecrackers and bombs were in th heap. Some of the rockets gyrated crazily along the sidewalks and landed a block away.
In a few seconds the building was a mass of flame, all retreat was shut off and 30 patrons in the store were trapped. Many fled up a balcony to the second floor in a panic, and jumped out windows onto a cement alley. Several suffered broken arms and legs. Pedestrians ran into the building and dragged children to safety, after they were crippled by explosions and burns.
Katherine Miller, four, and Ardyce Povek, nine, died of burns. Mrs. Helen Daniels, 29, who operated a beauty parlor on the second floor, and Mrs. Ernest Miller, mother of Katherine, also were burned to death. Mrs. May Ladelle of Homedale, Idaho, was not expected to survive her burns.
All doctors and nurses in the vicinity were pressed into service to care for the injured. Most of them were women and children. Fireman Jack Jekey was seriously burned in an attempted rescue. The explosion occurred during the evening shopping rush, when the building was crowded.
The Daily Courier, Connellsville, PA 2 Jul 1937