Chicago, IL Factory Explosion, Apr 1985


Chicago (UPI) -- Rescue workers Saturday searched for two missing people feared covered by the rubble of a tool and dye factory destroyed by a powerful explosion and fire that killed three and injured 14 others, police said.
The bodies of two men were pulled from the twisted steel and brick debris of the Tool and Engraving Co. Friday night. A third victim was found Saturday in the wreckage, officials said.
Two other victims might still be covered by the rubble, fire officials said.
The blast at the firm, a division of Farley Industries, shattered windows within a two-block area and shook houses up to a mile away, officials said.
VINCENTE MORENO, 45, of Chicago, and DRAGAN COLAKOVIC, of Berywn, were pronounced dead at Cook County Hospital, a spokesman said. The third victim was not identified.
Fourteen victims were taken to the University of Illinois Hospital and three were admitted in serious condition. Eleven others were treated and were later released. One of the injured was a firefighter.
The cause of the fire was not known, but officials said a gas leak may have sparked the explosion shortly after 7 p.m., said Capt. Donald Walpole, a Fire Department spokesman.
Some employees reported smelling gas before the explosion, Walpole said.
A spokesman for Peoples Gas Co. said repair crews were sent to the scene but found no evidence of a gas leak.
The Police Bomb and Arson Section was investigating the cause of the explosion.
The factory used fires fed by natural gas to melt aluminum chips for forging. The factory produces aluminum parts and metal castings for automobiles.
Leonard Christ, 63, who lives across the street from the plant, said he and his wife were watching the Chicago Cubs on television when he heard a
"terrific" explosion.
"They were just playing the National Anthem when it went. I haven't heard anything that loud since I was in the Philippines in World War II," Christ said.

Hutchinson News Kansas 1985-04-28