Asheville, NC Fireworks Plant Blast, Dec 1936



Asheville, N.C., Dec. 25. -- An explosion in a downtown fireworks store tonight killed at least three persons and injured an undetermined number.
An hour after the explosion firemen, backing their way through the wreckage, had brought out three bodies, and expressed fear several others had been killed.
At that time the firemen had not penetrated to the basement of the building, which caved in.
It was said a number of persons were in the store.
Christmas is observed throughout this region with fireworks displays.
Automobiles parked on both sides of the street were damaged by flame and heat. One vehicle directly in front of the building was demolished.
Bud Shaney, professional baseball pitcher, said the fire probably was caused by an open charcoal pot around which employes were gathered. Shaney said six to ten persons were in the store when he left. The explosion occurred when he was about 25 feet from the entrance, he said.
LAWRENCE STEPP, 15, who was in the store at the time of the explosion, said he was unable to find his mother, MRS. MAUDE STEPP, who was standing beside him at the time.
Young STEPP said he was knocked into the middle of the street. The store, he said, was in flames and firecrackers were shooting across the street.
The boy was deafened in one ear. He said he was sure the blast was caused by the fire in the charcoal pot.

Galveston Daily News Texas 1936-12-26