Warsaw, KY Business Explosion, Dec 1959



Warsaw, Ky. (AP) -- A blast tore apart a soft drink and beer warehouse and gashed businesses and homes in a four-block area yesterday.
At least 14 persons were injured, including JACK SMITH, 32, operator of the plant.
Most of the injured were taken 30 miles to St. Elizabeth Hospital in Covington, across the Ohio River from Cincinnati, where hospital aides turned the auditorium into an emergency ward.
The plant was in the center of this community of about 1,000 on U.S. 42, a major north-south highway.
SMITH, burned from head to ankles, was the most seriously injured. Most of those injured were cut by flying glass or hit by debris.
Walls of the warehouse, built last spring, were blown out and the roof fell in.
Some residents of Walton, 25 miles away, said they heard the blast.
Kenneth Kenner, a telephone lineman, said he was in a truck driving toward the building when the blast occurred.
"A puff of blue and grey smoke rose 300 feet in the air and my truck was blown sideways about 10 feet," he said.
"This place looks like a wartorn town."
Charles Adams, a Warsaw newsman, said SMITH was pulled from the ruins after the blast, apparently caused by the explosion of bottled gas containers.
"The town, for a five-to-seven-block area, is in shambles," Adams said. "Most downtown store windows are blasted out, as are windows in many homes. Some houses were knocked off their foundations."
He said fire departments were called from nearby cities "but the only fire seemed to be in the rubble that was the storage house."
"The houses next to the plant looked like someone exploded a bomb in each one. It's unbelievable. It just wrecked the whole town," said Ray Duncan of South Fort Mitchell, Ky.
Duncan was visiting in a home about 300 yards from the plant.
Mrs. Beth Abbott, Adam's mother-in-law, said her grandson, Bill Bradley, 29, who also lives near the scene of the blast, "was blown clear out of his house. He had just got out of the bathtub -- and the bathtub was blown out too. It just blew everything all to devil," she said.

Phoenix Arizona Republic 1959-12-26


My parents, who lived near

My parents, who lived near Aurora, Ind. heard this sound on Christmas day and were puzzled by it. Being Christmas there was little traffic and only the next day did they read about it in the newspaper

Warsaw KY Explosion 1959

This was in the days before the Interstate Highway System. I was a young lad of 6 1/2 years and we were traveling from Cleveland OH to visit relatives in North Alabama. We came into Warsaw in the middle of the night and I will never forget the destruction and the utter silence. It made such an impression that the memory is still imprinted in my mind today. I can't believe there was not tremendous loss of life. Now I finally know what caused that terrible scene that has stuck with me all these years. Thank you.