Indianapolis, IN Building Explosion, Aug 1928



(By International News Service)
Indianapolis, Ind., Aug. 27. -- Thousands of persons bound for work down town today gathered in front of the R. Kirschbaum building at 209 to 217 West Washington Street, to view the damage done by a mysterious terrific explosion that wrecked the building and damaged adjoining structures. First estimates placed the loss at more than $100,000.
Shattered glass from show and office windows stood nearly a foot deep in the street in front of the buildings. Special police details held the crowd at a distance.
HAROLD LIBOWITZ, 22, was found terribly burned in an alley behind the Kischbaum building. His condition today remained critical.
Firemen CECIL O. RICHARDSON and R. C. WALLACE were cut, bruised and burned in fighting a fire that followed the blast.
The chief property sufferers were the Edward Traugott & Company clothing store 215-217 West Washington Street.
Deputy state fire marchal Harry Gates today was assigned to investigate the explosion and fire.
So terrific was the explosion that it leterally blew out the entire fronts of the Trangott and of the Em-Roe stores. The scene of the blast was directly south across the street from the Indiana statehouse. Merchandise was blown clear into the statehouse campus.
At the hospital were LIBOWITZ was rushed he recovered consciousness long enough to tell Chief of police Claude M. Worley that he was "the victim of circumstances."
"Talk to me when I am feeling better," LIBOWITZ said and lost consciousness. He was burned almost over the whole body and little hope was held for his recovery.
Police believed LIBOWITZ was in the building when the explosion occurred. His father, Samuel Libowitz, operated a men's furnishing store at 350 Indiana Avenue.
Immediately after the explosion dense smoke shot from the wrecked building. This was followed by flames.
At the Gem theater which adjoins the wrecked buildings on the west, a panic occurred as the audience scrambled madly for the exits. Three persons were hurt in the panic. MARIETTA KAISER, 10, was bruised on the hips and the left shoulder. She was taken to the City hospital for treatment.
A police cordon was thrown about the explosion area and nobody was permitted to enter this area pending a thorough investigation of the blast. No cause for the explosion was known.
Insurance was said to cover most of the damage.

Logansport Pharos-Tribune Indiana 1928-08-27