Seattle, WA Seaport Tavern & Washington Cafe Basement Explosion, July 1950


Seattle, July 14 (AP) -- A violent underground gas explosion killed at least one person, injured more than a dozen others and damaged several buildings in a south side business area today.
The blast occurred at five thirty-five a.m., in the basement under the Seaport Tavern and the New Washington Cafe, at First Avenue South and Washington Street.
It ripped through the first floor of the three-story building, and one wall section fell in the street.
Windows were shattered in buildings several blocks away. Sixty feet of sidewalk was ripped out, and glass and debris littered the street.
The known victim was NEIL J. BOLES, 33, of Kent, Wash. His body was found lying in a second story window of the Dal Mar Hotel, across the street from the Seaport Tavern.
Fire department investigators said illuminating gas apparently exploded, from an unexplained cause. Firemen extinguished the flames, that shot 20 feet above the sidewalk just after the blast.
Several of the injured were asleep in their rooms in the Del Mar Hotel. Others, walking on the street, were cut by flying glass.
Investigators said there could have been hundreds of casualties had the explosion occurred two hour later when streets were crowded.
The explosion started a fire in the Buttnick Manufacturing Company, work clothing manufacturer, on the second and third stories of the building. The company's quarters were badly damaged but firemen kept the blaze from spreading.

Ogden Standard Examiner Utah 1950-07-14