Youngstown, OH Fireworks Plant Blast, May 1985


Youngstown, Ohio (AP) -- Only two craters and the foundations of a farm shed remained today at the site of an explosion that killed nine people at what police say was an illegal fireworks operation.
The blast yesterday scattered body parts, corrugated metal and pink tufts of insulation over hundreds of yards. Power lines were downed and windows shattered as far as a mile away.
Angelo Kissos, chief investigator for the Mahoning County coroner's office, said the remains of one body were found 471 feet from the point of the explosion.
Officials did not immediately identify the victims, but one of the dead was identified by his family as EDWARD J. MALYSA, 23, of Youngstown.
"I saw dead killed in the war, but it's tough seeing your own flesh and blood here," said his father, David. "It was nnow easy, but I had to be sure it was him, and it was."
"We tried to talk Edward out of working there -- that it was dangerous and might be illegal," said the dead man's brother Steve Malysa. "But he said they worked safely and the he though they were making legal fireworks. He had been down about being out of work. He was eager to get a job, and the pay was good."
Where the shed had stood, only a foundation and two craters remained, with scattered debris strewn about it. A nearby barn was heavily damaged.
"It looked like there might have been two separate explosions, but so close together it sounded like one," Assistant Beaver Township Fire Chief John Schmidt said.
County Prosecutor Gary Van Brocklin said authorities were unaware of permits being issued for any kind of fireworks operations.
Township Police Chief Joseph Rinko said illegal fireworks were stored and probably manufactured in what had been a rented farm outbuilding. He said authorities were trying to trace the ownership of the business.

The Capital Annapolis Maryland 1985-05-21