Kenosha, WI House Gas Explosion, Aug 1976


Kenosha, Wis. (AP) - Two persons were killed Sunday morning in an explosion and fire which leveled a West Side home and extensively damaged two adjacent dwellings.
Fire Chief Frank Blasi said CLETUS WESTON, 60, and his son DAVID, about 27, lost their lives when a man cleaning a clogged sewer in the house apparently punctured a gas main.
The elder WESTON'S wife, FRANCES, 56; JOSEPH OSTERMAN, 26, and fireman JAMES DOUGLASS, 47, were hospitalized in fair condition. Another son of the WESTON'S, STEVEN, 30, was treated and released.
Blasi said that OSTERMAN heard a noise while he was working in the basement and rushed upstairs to warn the family to evacuate. The chief said that OSTERMAN returned to the basement in an unsuccessful effort to plug the leak.
Officials said firemen were called and the explosion took place just as they arrived at the home.
"It blew the side walls right out, and the roof dropped onto the foundation," Fire Capt. Richard Rugg said. "The subsequent fire took care of the rest of it."
The body of CLETUS WESTON was found outside the building under the debris of a wall, while the body of DAVID WESTON was found inside among the rubble.
DOUGLASS was overcome by smoke while fighting the subsequent fire.

Daily Tribune Wisconsin Rapids Wisconsin 1976-08-30