Pulaski, NY Natural Gas Explosion, Feb 1917

TERRIFIC EXPLOSION OF GAS.

FOUR BUILDINGS IN HEART OF PULASKI BUSINESS SECTION WIPED OUT BY FLAMES

WALLS OF CELLAR BLOWN OUT BY FORCE OF EXPLOSION.

Last Thursday evening fire caused by explosion of natural gas under the sidewalk at the department store of George M. Box, in Pulaski, destroyed four buildings and for a time threatened the entire business district. The loss is estimated at about $75,000. The stores burned are:
GEORGE M. BOX, general store.
FRANK P. BETTS, drygoods.
NEWTON & JONES, barbers.
ENOS & MORTON, furniture and undertakers.
The offices of the Electric Light Company and living apartments were above the stores, which were two-story brick structures, and the contents are almost a total loss.
Shortly before 5:30 o'clock WILLIAM O. POTTER, superintendent of the Pulaski Natural Gas and Oil Company, went to the Box store to repair a leak in the gas main in a sub-cellar under the sidewalk.
Failing to shut the gas from the street, which failed to work, POTTER entered the store and went to the basement, accompanied by Mr. Box. Just as the two men entered the sub-cellar an explosion took place, almost wrecking the store.
It was with the greatest difficulty that the proprietor of the store and the gas superintendent reached a place of safety. Both groped about the cellar in an endeavor to gain the staircase. The room was strewed with the debris resulting from the explosion. Both men finally reached the street, narrowly escaping. MR. BOX was badly burned and bruised about the face, head and hands. MR. POTTER was injured quite as bad about the face, head, hands and other parts of his body. MISS GOLDIE L. GATES, a saleswoman in the Box store, also was severely injured about the face. MRS. DORR ROBINSON and little child, who were in the Box store at the time of the explosion, were rescued by Hosea T. Newton and N. E. Woods. It was a difficult matter to rescue them from the wrecked room.
The entire plate glass front in the store where the explosion occurred was blown out and fragments of glass hurled a distance of more than twenty feet. South of the Box store the plate glass fronts in the clothing store of HERBERT W. DAMON, grocery of NORMAN E. WOODS and the candy kitchen, all in the HOHMAN opera house block, were shattered. The barber shop of NEWTON & JONES, one door north of the Box store, was wrecked, as was also the furniture store of ENOS & MORTON.
The flames quickly followed the explosion and the Box store burned rapidly. None of the goods or books were removed. Flames quickly followed to the NEWTON barber shop, north of the Box store, and a few minutes later the ENOS & MORTON store was enveloped. But a short time later the store of FRANK B. BETTS, one door north of the ENOS place, was enveloped in flames.

The Journal And Republican Lowville New York 1917-02-22