Seattle, WA Underground Gas Explosion, July 1950 - Man Killed


Seattle, July 14. (AP) -- A violent underground gas explosion killed at least one person, injured more than a dozen others and damaged several buildings in a south side business area today.
The blast occurred at 5:35 a.m. (PDT) (6:35 CST) in the basement under the Seaport Tavern and the new Washington Cafe.
It ripped through the first floor of the three-story building, and one wall section fell into the street.
Windows were shattered in buildings several blocks away. Sixty feet of sidewalk was ripped out, and glass and debris littered the street.
The known victim was NEIL J. BOLES, 33, of Kent, Wash. His body was found lying in a second-story window of the Del Mar hotel, across the street from the Seaport Tavern.
Fire department investigators said illuminating gas apparently exploded from an unknown cause. Firemen extinguished flames that shot 20 feet above the sidewalk just after the blast.
Several of the injured were asleep in their rooms in the Del Mar Hotel. Others, walking on the street, were cut by flying glass.
Investigators said there could have been hundreds of casualties had the explosion occurred two hours later when streets were crowded.
The explosion started a fire in the Buttnick Manufacturing company, work-clothing manufacturer, on the second and third stories of the building. Firemen kept the blaze from spreading.
A 12-foot beam was hurled across the street and through the window of a drugstore.
A city transit bus passing the tavern had windows smashed and its metal side cut. The bus driver, the only occupant, was unhurt.
The first indication of trouble in the area came at 5:15 a.m. when the operator of the New Washington Cafe called the Seattle Gas Company and said the gas supply had failed. A company repairman left immediately for the cafe. He was three blocks away when the explosion occurred.

Evening Journal Lubbock Texas 1950-07-14