Greenville, NC Apartment Explosion, Mar 1983


Greenville, N.C. (AP) -- One person was killed and 13 people were injured early today when a powerful gas explosion in a laundry room flattened part of an apartment building, authorities
One body was found in a swimming pool, hurled by the force of the explosion, said Police Chief Glenn Cannon. Other victims were found trapped under the debris.
Police Capt. John Briley earlier said two were dead, but Cannon corrected that report to one killed.
Cannon said many of the residents were asleep when the explosion occurred. He said he smelled gas fumes when he arrived on the scene and that investigators believe a gas dryer in the laundry room may have malfunctioned.
Doctors said most of the victims were believed to be college students at East Carolina University.
The explosion occurred at the Village Green Apartments shortly before 6 a.m.
Hospital spokesman Marion Carson said four of the injured were to be admitted and one is in guarded condition with chest injuries. Others suffered burns, head injuries and fractures.
Pete Moncia, a student who lives nearby, said several apartments were destroyed and windows were blown out of other buildings. Moncia said rescuers were trying to pull people from the rubble.
"There was an explosion," a fire department spokesman said. "The fire is under control. There are an unknown number of injuries and firefighters are searching through debris."
Pete O'Brien, a photographer for WNCT-TV, said the "building was like a bomb exploded. The two-story building was a shambles. There were cars with roofs bashed in and they were just picking through the debris, trying to find anybody who was alive."

Lethbridge Herald Alberta 1983-03-02