Brooklyn, NY Office Building Explosion, Apr 1948
BLAST RAZES 3-STORY BUILDING.
FEW WORKING WHEN EXPLOSION WRECKS BROOKLYN OFFICES.
TWO DEAD, FIVE HURT; BLAME GAS ACCUMULATION FOR BLAST.
New York, April 26 (AP) -- At least two persons were killed today and five others injured in a series of thunderous explosions and fire which destroyed a three-story gas company building in Brooklyn.
Exact cause of the blast was not immediately determined.
"It was terrific," one rescue worker said. "It sounded like a couple of tons of dynamite went off."
The building housed the production division of the Kings County Lighting company, and contained offices, laboratories and meters. Large gas storage tanks are situated nearby.
The loss of life might have been greater, police said, but the building was being remodeled at the time and was staffed by a skeleton crew. The company manufactures artificial gas for home and industrial use.
The force of the explosion blew clothes off those who were inside the building. Iron bars on the windows were twisted and blown apart.
Thousands of persons in factory buildings in the vicinity of the explosion, 55th street and First avenue, were ordered evacuated by police and fire officials.
HERBERT H. RICE and JOSEPH HARRAHILL, employes of the nearby firms, got a ladder and rescued two men from the burning building. They were uninjured although explosions shook the ladder loose while they were on it.
COL. EDWARD R. MARTIN, a chaplain at the port of embarkation, and patrolman JOHN HEALY, directing traffic near the explosion scene, rescued four or five men who were still inside the building. They said they saw men blown through barred windows of the building by the force of the blast.
Fire marshal THOMAS P. BROPHY said three of the least seriously injured told him the initial explosion occurred as a gas meter was being installed.
BROPHY said he was told that the manufacture of gas had been halted in the morning so the men could work on the equipment.
BROPHY theorized that the blast had been touched off either by an open flame or some kind of friction from tools being used on the meter. Company meters were situated on the first floor.
Logansport Press Indiana 1948-04-27