River Forest, IL Bakery Gas Explosion, Mar 1955


Chicago (AP) -- An exploding gas oven in the bake shop of a suburban department store Sunday night killed five men and injured two others, one critically.
The blast in the suburban River Forest Wieboldt Department Store bent and shattered the walls, floor and ceiling of the first floor bake shop. The explosion also shattered display windows in other parts of the four-story structure.
"The entire building shook like a ship," commented WASYC DIMYTROSZ, a baker who witnessed the blast in a basement below the bake shop. He was not injured.
Four of the victims were employes of a company installing a new 32-pan gas fire oven. The fifth was a store engineer.
BERNARD GERARD, River Forest police chief, attributed that explosion to illuminating gas used in the ovens. What actually touched off the blaze was not immediately determined by authorities.
F. E. STAHL, store manager, placed the damage
"over $100,000."

Dixon Evening Telegraph Illinois 1955-03-07