Oklahoma City, OK Ice House Collapse Mar 1959
EXPLOSION RIPS CAPITAL PACKING PLANT; 2 KILLED, 6 TRAPPED, 14 INJURED.
HUGE ICE HOUSE DROPS 7 FLOORS; DEADLY GAS LINES ARE TORN LOOSE.
Oklahoma City (AP) - A third person, PAUL D. FERRELL, 25, was reported killed today when a massive ice house smashed seven floors into the basement of Wilson & Company's big meat packing plant.
Oklahoma City (AP) - Two men were killed, fourteen known injured and at least six were trapped by an explosion when a heavy ice house plunged seven floors through Wilson & Company's big meat packing plant here.
The number of injured may go higher. And the number of trapped could rise.
There was no exact count of just how many people were in the building.
Fire Chief Haskell Graves gave the casualty count. He said the six remaining inside were ones that rescue workers could definitely locate.
Three persons who had been trapped were freed.
The dead men were identified as RONALD PORTER, 31, and S. S. MIRANDA, 61.
Ammonia lines torn loose by the falling ice structure sent searing gas through the building and area.
There were reports of an explosion that sent the heavy ice structure crashing down. These were unconfirmed. Plant Manager O. W. Gafney said he didn't know.
But Fire Capt. Bert Kuner said he believed the ice house, resting on big wooden beams, simply crashed through the floor. On the way down it tore loose ammonia lines.
One of the dead was identified as S. S. MIRANDA, 61.
Trapped In Basement.
One man was reportedly trapped on the fourth floor. Two were trapped in the basement and at least one of these was alive.
The accident happened shortly before noon.
Ambulances shuttled between the plant's southside stockyards location and city hospitals.
No one was sure exactly what happened but thick ammonia fumes made rescue work dangerous.
"We don't know what happened," said Gafney. "It started on the seventh floor, where the floor collapsed. It might have been from an ammonia tank explosion, located in a building next door."
The whole building area was immediately evacuated. The plant employs 1,100 persons. A number by number check of each worker was being made to see just who was injured, trapped of unharmed.
"It trembled like an earthquake for 2 or 3 minutes," said Fred Russ who works in the meat cutting department on the third floor. "Then the whole thing fell in."
The man trapped in the basement was apparently lying under a beam, said Fire Warden John Anderson.
One of the at least 10 hospitalized was TED KING, an ambulance driver who was siding in rescue work.
Vendell Smith said the ammonia fumes that spread through the building were so thick they almost overcame him as he brought out injured.
The injured identified so far were:
WILLIAM CECIL ADAMS.
The Lawton Constitution Oklahoma 1959-03-24