Ardmore, OK Gasoline Explosion, Sept 1915 - Whole Town Wrecked

ARDMORE DISASTER CAUSES DISTRESS

WHOLE TOWN WRECKED AND MANY PERSONS KILLED AND INJURED.

Raised to Forty.
ARDMORE, Okla., Sept. 28. - The death list resulting from the explosion of a carload of gasoline in the Santa Fe railway yards here late yesterday was raised to forty today when five of the injured died in local hospitals. The searchers are still digging in the ruins of a pool hall for six bodies supposed to be buried there. Seven bodies were recovered from that place last night. The known injured is estimated at 200, although it is believed there are scores of persons with minor injuries whose cases have not been reported.

The Tragedy.
ARDMORE, Okla., Sept. 28. - Ardmore continued the search for its dead today in the still smoking ruins of the structures of two city blocks which were destroyed in the explosion of a 250-gallon tank of gasoline late yesterday.

Up to daybreak today thirty-five bodies had been recovered. Police officials said they are certain many other bodies are in the last debris and place the death list at from forty-five to fifty.

At least 200 were injured. They are being cared for today at the hospitals and in homes where overflows were treated. Search for more dead centered today in the Maddin & Co. department store where a number of bodies of women and girls already have been found. The store was crowded when a spark from a workman's sledge ignited the gasoline at a leaky spot in the tank. There was some hope, however, that many had time to escape to safety.

Police officials explained that much difficulty in accounting for scores reported as missing could be explained by the excitement which followed the explosion. The blast occurred at a time when many workers were away from their homes. A great many of these undoubtedly aided in the work of rescue and still are helping out the militia which is in charge of the town in the work of digging for more dead.

Ardmore today presents a woeful picture. Practically every window in the town was smashed. Dishes and other fragile articles of furniture in homes and buildings that were near enough to the explosion to be rocked as if in an earthquake, were shattered to bits.

Property loss, it was estimated today, might reach a total of half a million dollars.

The Ardmore railroad station, used jointly by the Santa Fe, Frisco and Rock Island lines, was demolished. The Rock Island freight shed and scores of other buildings were set afire by the flying liquid. The flames spread rapidly until nearly all of Main street appeared to be a furnace.

The pall of smoke created prevented effective rescue work.

Many of the fires were not controlled until late last night. The city is under martial law.

In addition to the railroad station the buildings of Swift & Co., Pennington Wholesale Grocery company, the Whittington hotel, Maddin & Co., dry goods, and DeWitt Cigar company were destroyed. The plants of the Daily Ardmorite and Statesman were badly damaged. Not a building on Main street escaped damage, either from the explosion of the fires that followed.

Many of the dead and injured were removed to their homes by members of their families and it was impossible early today to make an accurate estimate of the total.

The list of know dead includes:
HENRY SIMS, Santa Fe flagman.
MILTON TAYLOR, employe [sic] Dawson Produce company.
E. J. COX, 50, fireman.
C. A. GOULD, 50, poultry dealer.
IRA WOODS, employe [sic] refinery company.
CHARLES R. SMITH, 45, former policeman.
M. E. ATWINS, 55, transfer man.
BRESTON BLAZE, Santa Fe flagman.
REUBEN WARREN, farmer.
S. T. WYFORD, 40, cook.
WILLIAM GRAHAM, employe [sic] refining company.
SAM STALLOUP, 6.
F. D. CORNELL.
THOMAS GILKEY.
UNIDENTIFIED WHITE WOMAN.
FOUR UNIDENTIFIED WHITE MEN.
UNIDENTIFIED INDIAN.
FIFTEEN UNIDENTIFIES NEGROES.

Fort Wayne News, Fort Wayne, IN 28 Sept 1915