Cincinnati, OH Building Explosion, May 1896


Fearful Catastrophe on a Busy Cincinnati Street.


Some Fastened In the Ruins of the Big Collapsed Structure---An Explosion of Gasoline In the Cellar the Cause---Rescue Work Going On.

CINCINNATI, May 5.---The five-story building, 430 and 432 Walnut street, between Fourth and Fifth streets, has been blown to the ground by an explosion of gasoline. The shock was so terrific that it was felt all over the city, and not one brick upon another is left in the front and rear walls of the building, while the adjacent buildings are badly damaged and the glass in the windows of the Gibson House and large Johnson building across the street were all broken. The glass was broken out of street cars that were passing at the time, and one of the cars was badly wrecked, but none of the passengers were seriously hurt. All the horses in the immediate neighborhood broke from their fastenings and ran away, and there was not only intense excitement, but also the greatest confusion.

The explosion took place four doors from the intersection from Fifth and Walnut streets, where the postoffice is located on one side and Fountain square on the other. No part of the city is more crowded and there were soon many thousands of people about Fountain square and the space around the government building, while Walnut street was completely blocked. There were first reports about fireworks being stored in the building and also about dynamite and ammunition, so that there were several stampedes in the immense crowds on the reports about other explosions likely to follow. Several people were slightly hurt in these stampedes.

The ground floor of 432 Walnut street was occupied by ADOLPH C. DRACH as a saloon. He owned that part of the building and the other part was owned by M. Goldsmith, and the first floor of this building, at 430 Walnut street, was also occupied by a saloon run by Louis Fey. The upper rooms of the five-story building were occupied as flats.

It is not known definitely how many are killed and injured. At least 6 are dead and 18 hurt.

It is not known how many people were in the flats or how many were in the flats or how many were in the saloons, but none escaped, as the building immediately collapsed. There was no fire to consume the debris and make certain the death of all in the building, but the dust and dirt continued flying for a long time so densely that the work of rescuing the victims proceeded with great difficulty, although the police and fire departments rallied heroically to the work. The saloons were said to be quite full of people.

Continued on page 2