Los Angeles, CA Building Explosion, Oct 1930
By 9 o'clock 40 had been taken to the police emergency hospital for treatment for cuts and burns. Several others had been taken to other hospitals. HYMAN SCHULMAN, 46, garment manufacturer, was the most seriously hurt. The building had been fairly well searched. He suffered second and third degree burns of the head, face, hands and legs.
With the fire subdued within an hour, firemen made heroic rescues. Two firemen climbing ladders to the eleventh floor, found a young woman, SARAH MELAMED, on the floor in a protected corner. She was brought out, overcome by smoke and bleeding from severe cuts from flying glass.
No bodies had been found in the building an hour and a half after the explosion, by which time six fire companies had the blaze under control.
Firemen searched the mass of wrecked concrete and shattered floors for bodies but found none.
The explosion shattered windows in a radius of five blocks in the downtown wholesale district, into which workers were just pouring.
Rescue squads dragged the injured from the wreckage and every available ambulance in the city was called out. The victims were all taken to the police receiving hospital.
The first victims rescued were suffering critical burns, some of them having all their clothes burned off.
J. Holtzman, painter working on the third floor, and Carl Kaplan, proprietor of a garment shop on the same floor, were hurled to the floor. Recovering from the shock, both rushed to safety, but returned to rescue victims whose screams pierced the air.
Fire officials said pedestrians, walking to work as far as four blocks away, were hurled to the sidewalks.
Automobiles parked within a block of the Garment building were bowled over or wrecked by the force of the blast.
Duke Wiedeman, owner of an electrical supply store opposite the wrecked building, was one of the first eye-witnesses to report.
"There was absolutely no warning," he said.
"Suddenly a terrific explosion occurred. I knew there must be nearly a hundred people in the building and realized many of them must be trapped."
Captain S. G. Katzenberger, police explosives expert, declared he was convinced the explosion was due to gas and not a commercial explosive. He pointed out the force of the blast was upward and outward, affecting the upper floors the worst, whereas dynamite or other explosive would have blown huge holes at the points of detonation.
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