June 20, 1907


Windows and Door Blown Out,
Ceiling Forced Up and Pictures
Torn From Wall in Resi-
dence at 4423 Forest

"Like a thousand cannon booming," is the phrase used by a next-door neighbor to describe the explosion wh ich took place about 10 o'clock last night in the four-room cottage of George Skauv, 4423 Forest avenue, practically wrecking the house and probably fatally burning Mrs. Teresa Skauv.

The explosion is believed to have been the result of natural gas which had collected. The family, which is composed of George Skauv, a boxmaker employed by the Kansas City Packing Box Company; his mother, Mrs. Teresa Skauv, 63 years old, and his wife, left the house shortly after 8 o'clock. Skauv and his wife had gone to visit his sister, Clara Skauv, 2325 Madison street. Shortly after Mrs. Teresa Skauv was seen to close the doors and windows and walk north on Forest avenue, presumably to visit one of the neighbors.

At 10 o'clock she returned. P. G. Stokes, an employe of the Ellis Planing Mill Company, who lives next door, saw her come into the yard and go to the back door. She unlocked the door and stepped into the kitchen. A moment later she struck a match.

"Then I heard a noise like a thousand cannons," said Stokes. "A second after I heard a woman scream at the top of her voice. I rushed to the rear door of the Skauv house.

"Just as I reached there Mrs. Skauv staggered out onto the porch, moaning and crying. Her clothing was on fire, and she was attempting to put out the flames by beating them with her hands. I took of my coat and wrapped it around her, and in a short time the fire in her clothing was extinguished."

Mrs. Skauv was then carried into the Stokes home and the physicians called.

At the sound of the explosion, which was heard for blocks around, neighbors gathered about the Skauv home. The first comers discovered that the kitchen was afire.

"Form a bucket brigade!" shouted someone, and immediately there was a rush to the neighboring houses for buckets, dish pans, cooking utinsils, anything which would hold water. But before the members of the bucket brigade were ready to get into action, someone had found a garden hose attached to the hydrant in the yard, and the flames were extinguished before any appreciable damage was done. The fire department was not notified.

An investigation of the premises after the fire was extinguished showed that the explosion was one of unusual force. Pieces of glass from the window were found in the street nearby half a block away.

The back door was blown off its hinges, and was found twenty feet away in the back yard. The pictures were blown from the walls. Both windows in the kitchen were shattered. A front window was blown out. The ceiling had apparently been raised by the force of the explosion.

A peculiar thing was that the west windows of the bedroom in the northwest corner were shattered, and pictures knocked from the walls, while not even the frailest piece of bric-a-brac was disturbed in the parlor, which is in the southwest corner with no hall between it and the bedroom. The parlor opens off the kitchen, where the explosion occurred. The only explanation which Skauv could find for this is that probably the parlor doors were both closed, while the doors of the northwest bedroom which opens into a room at the southwest corner of the house, and so to the kitchen were opened.

The explosion apparently took place close to the ceilings, which are about ten feet high. The top panes in the two kitchen windows were broken, while the lower panes remained unharmed. The ceilings everywhere seemed to have been lifted.

The kitchen where the explosion seemed to have occurred, is equipped with a gas chandelier with two jets, and a gas range. The other three rooms have gas lights. A careful search showed that all the burners were properly turned off, and it is the theory of the neighbors that one of the pipes was efective. Escaping gas could not be noticed anywhere in the house after explosion.

Mrs. Skauv was so badly burned that she was unable to talk last night. George Skauv and his wife did not know of the explosion until they returned from their visit shortly after 11 o'clock.

Dr. W. C. West and Dr. L. C. Dod, who attended Mrs. Skauv, hold out slight hope fore her recovery. She was badly burned about the neck, arms and back. It is believed that she inhaled some of the fumes.