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Big Heart, Oklahoma Explosion

January 25, 1919


-Eight people were killed and more than a score severely injured when a wagon carrying nitroglycerine belonging to the Eastern Torpedo Company exploded in the heart of the residence district here today.

WALTER ENGLISH, of Tulsa, 44, driver and BOB KINDA, also on the wagon, were blown to atoms.

The residence of LATH HARRIS, in front of which the explosion occurred, was levelled to the ground. HARRIS and his wife were perhaps fatally wounded and their three-year-old baby boy was killed. Seven other houses in the vicinity were wrecked.

The explosion broke every window in the town and shook the ground for hundreds of yards around. All telegraph and telephone communication was destroyed.

Big Heart has only one doctor. He had a corps of workers attending to the dead and wounded. Pawhuska, Okla, sent physicians and rescue workers in motor cars to the scene.

Not all the bodies of the dead and wounded were recovered from the ruins of the houses and casualties may exceed first figures.

Only two quarts of ntroglycerin [sic] were in the wagon. The cause of the explosion is unknown.

Lima Daily News, Lima, OH 26 Jan 1919

Transcribed by Linda Houston. Thanks, Linda!



Score Injured When Oklahoma Town Is Shaken by Terrific Explosion.

Eight Houses Demolished and Panic Follows--Truck Hits Rut in Street.

MUSKOGEE, Okla. Jan 25.
-A wagon loaded with high explosives for use in the nearby oil fields struck a rut in the street as it was being driven through the residence section of the little town of Big Heart, Oklahoma, late today, and as a result nine people are dead, and a score of others are injured.

The explosion rocked the entire town. Eight houses were demolished and some of the dead were killed by the falling debris. Not a building in town escaped damage. A hole big enough to bury a half dozen wagons, was torn in the street.

Panic ensued, and early tonight the excited populace had not been quieted. Telephone wires were torn down and except for a single railroad wire, the town was cut off from communication.

The wagon was driven by W. R. English, an experienced man in the hanlding [sic] of explosives. No trace of his body or his wagon had been found early tonight.

Several years ago a tornado laid the town waste and on other occasions wind and fire have all but wiped it out.

San Jose Mercury Herald, San Jose, CA 26 Jan 1919

Transcribed by Linda Houston. Thanks, Linda!



.-A wagon loaded with high explosives for use in the oil fields struch [sic] a rut in the street as it was driven through the residence quarter of Big Heart, Okla., today, and as a result four persons were killed, a score injured and eight houses demolished.

The explosion rocked the whole town. Not a building in town escaped damage. A hold big enough to bury half a dozen wagons was torn in the street. Three of the injured may die. No trace of the wagon driver's body, or the horses was found.

Sandusky Register, Sandusky, OH 26 Jan 1919

Transcribed by Linda Houston. Thanks, Linda!



Mrs. English Receives Word Husband Was Driver of Wagon At Big Heart, Okla.

Mrs. W. R. English, 813 south Metcalf street, has been notified by the Eastern Torpedo Company, that it was her husband who was killed in the explosion of nitroglycerine Saturday in Big Heart, Oklahoma, in which eight persons were killed and a score injured.

Walter English, the driver of the wagon, which was carrying the explosive, left this city about a year ago and had been shooting oil wells in Oklahoma. Prior to that he was for eleven years a conductor on the Lake Erie and Western railroad, out of Lima.
Besides his wife, he leaves two daughters of Lima. English was born in Sidney, Ohio, and was 45 years old. No trace of the body was discovered after the explosion, which wrecked several buildings and broke every window in Big Heart.

Lima Daily News, Lima, OH 27 Jan 1919

Transcribed by Jenni Lanham.  Thank you, Jenni!


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