Weymouth, MA Gas Explosion, Apr 1935

ONE DEAD, TWO DYING IN WEYMOUTH BLAST.

PROPERTY LOSS HALF MILLION.

CHAIN STORE MANAGER DIES A HERO -- BUILDINGS WITHIN MILE RADIUS DAMAGED.

POST OFFICE WRECKED.

TERRIFIC GAS EXPLOSION REDUCES FOUR STORES TO DEBRIS AND ROCKS; 31 OTHERS.

Weymouth, April 10 (INS) -- Explosion of accumulated illuminating gas, which reduced four stores to debris and damaged 31 others in the business district of Weymouth Landing today, caused the death of JOSEPH BROWNE, 46, chain grocery store manager, probably fatally injured two others and sent nine more to the hospital with less serious injuries.
The blast did damage in a mile-wide area conservatively estimated by town authorities at $300,000 with some are officially stating it may mount to $500,000.
BROWNE, father of six children, one of whom, Joseph, 18, is studying for the priesthood at Germantown, Penn., died a hero, saving the life of MRS. HELEN VALLAS by pushing her from his store a few seconds before the explosion.
Houses and buildings within a mile radius were damaged, including the branch post office where armed guards were called on to protect the mail. An investigation of the explosion was launched by town and state authorities under the direction of State Fire Marshal Stephen C. Garrity.
The dead:
JOSEPH BROWNE, of Summer Street, Weymouth, manager of the First National Store, killed in the explosion. He is the father of six children.
The injured:
FRANK LOUD, Main Street, South Weymouth, on the danger list at Quincy City hospital, with leg, arm and head injuries.
ARTHUR ROSS, 35, of Middle Street, East Weymouth, a call fireman, dying at Quincy City hospital of injuries received in the explosion. Hundreds of pounds of debris cascaded on him.
ARLEIGH TIRRELL, employed at First National Stores, fractured skull, on danger list.
TRUMAN MARR, son of the captain of the Weymouth fire department, crushed leg and internal injuries, on danger list.
MICHAEL O'BRIEN, Vine Street, Weymouth.
EDWARD LUDDEN, plumber, of Weymouth.
JOHN PARNELL, assistant manager of Woolworth's 5 and 10 cent store.
MRS. LOUIS VALLAS, East Braintree, wife of a storekeeper.
Patrolman GEORGE WILSON, Braintree police.
GEORGE DAVIDSON and KENNETH THAYER, Braintree firemen.
BROWNE was at the store because of the flood conditions caused by the northeast storm which swept New England. He had gone to the cellar a few minutes before the explosion. Firemen were on the scene attempting to control the flood, and they were among the injured.
Merchandise and equipment of the various stores was ruined. The principal black razed was occupied by the First National Stores, Friends food shop, Grant's and Woolworth's. The Woolworth store was blown down except for one wall.
Two score firemen were standing about, and a number of employees connected with the stores were inspecting their flooded cellars, when Chief J. Ralph Bacon of the Weymouth fire department smelled gas. He ordered everyone from the scene. In a moment the whole section was torn apart by the blast and debris fell.
BROWNE was crushed beneath a pile of flying cement blocks.
LOUND and ROSS were in what hospital attendants referred to as "pitiful condition," practically every major bone in their bodies being broken. LOUD may live, but doctors said that ROSS could not.

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