It all started in West Plains at
11:05 p.m., Friday, April 13, 1928. It was at the Bond Dance Hall
on the 2nd floor of the Wiser Motor Company on East Main Street.
The people that were on the 2nd floor had no clue that gas was leaking
from a car and a lit cigarette was on the floor where the gas was.
The last song the people were listening
to was "At Sundown." Right in the middle of the song the
lit cigarette and the gas got close together. Right then the building
exploded, and all of the windows in all of the buildings on the
West Plains square broke into little pieces on the ground. The very
next day, the newspaper said, "West Plains Weekly Quill, 37
Killed in Mystery Blast: 22 Injured."
Renea Saves the Day
In 1928 in West Plains there was
a big dance at the Bond Dance Hall on East Main Street. The dance
hall was over the Wiser Motor Company. Almost everybody was at the
dance. Renea, who was across the street, saw the fun and went over.
Renea was offered drinks and snacks. As Renea was dancing she smelled
something. She went into the Wiser Garage. An old man was fiddling
with something. Renea was trying to see what it was, but the man
closed the truck. As he left, Renea went over to the truck. She
lifted the truck lid and spotted the bomb. Renea saw that there
was only five minutes left. Renea was trying hard to think when
she remembered the pawn shop. The owner of the shop could stop the
bomb. Renea carefully picked up the bomb and snuck it into the store,
but no one was there. Then Renea ran home and found a shovel. She
started to dig. She finally found the door to the cellar. Renea
opened the door and threw the bomb into it. She closed the door,
and covered it with dirt. Renea's father was a cement trucker. She
found a big bucket of the cement and dumped it over the dirt. Then
she ran back to the dance and told everyone about the bomb. About
two minutes later a big boom awoke the town. Luckily, no one was
hurt, although the bomb did shatter the windows in the cellar and
in Renea's house. Renea was rewarded with money and a certificate.
That night at Renea's grandma's, everyone celebrated, and Renea
was happy she had saved her town.
The Great Dance Hall Explosion
It all began on April 12 at 11:05 a.m., in the year
1928. I'm Miss Christy Colls. I'm nineteen years old. I guess you
could say I'm a bit young to be trying to stop something that I'm
about to try to stop. See, there is going to be a huge explosion
in the Bond Dance Hall. For some strange reason, when something
horrifying is going to happen I get my West Plains Weekly Quill
a day early, so I can try to stop what's about to happen.
I have a boyfriend named Bryan Ball. My boyfriend
was the one to tell me about the West Plains Explosion. The dance
will be at the Bond dance Hall that is down East Main Street on
top of the Wiser Motor Company. I was the star singer that night.
I had a plan that might save the lives of many people. The night
of the dance I was dressed in my blue dress that had fringe down
from below my waist to just above my knees. At 5:00 I waited for
my boyfriend to arrive in the beautiful white limo. When he finally
arrived, we had to hurry because we were late for the dance. The
song they were singing when we arrived at the dance hall was called
"When You Arrive." Usually we take a break at 12:00, but
instead we sang one more song. It was the song I would be singing
too. It was called, "At Sundown."
Before we started the song I smelled a pungent odor
around the dance hall and the Wiser Motor Company. I ran out to
the limo to tell the driver to get away from the building just in
case an explosion occurred. I was right in the middle of the song
"At Sundown" when immediately I had to go down to the
garage. There had been an open can of gas that had evaporated in
the garage. I opened a window and went back upstairs to the dance
hall. About an hour later I kept smelling the same gas that I smelled
earlier. I ran like the wind to the microphone and told everybody
to get out. "OUT! OUT! OUT!" I said to everybody.
When almost everybody got out, someone was still inside
smoking a cigarette. They threw it on the ground. He jumped from
the window just in time. I told everybody to get away from the building
because it was going to explode. Just minutes after everybody got
away from the building, it exploded. Instantly after the building
blew up, there were flames that went a hundred feet into the air.
It was a huge disaster because the whole building collapsed on top
of my great, great Uncle Greg. I loved him so much that I thought
my heart would never mend, but there was still Bryan. Bryan and
I were very sad, but we kept working on it. Finally we made it through.
It was very hard losing my great, great, Uncle Greg.
All of the windows in every building on the square
were blown out. In the middle of the square was a big beautiful
brick courthouse. The explosion was so big that it tore off one
of the walls on the courthouse. The people had to prop up the wall
with two by fours. Down East Main Street all that was left of the
Bond Dance Hall and the Wiser Motor Company was wood and instruments
that had been smashed.
Nine people were seriously injured. Five died from
being badly burned, but 37 people were saved. The grave has a big,
beautiful grave stone with everybody's name on it. The West Plains
cemetery is on the north side of West Plains.
It was a very sad time then, and
many families lost loved ones that were very special to them. Some
families were so happy their children did not get killed in the
explosion that happened just days ago. The parents that lost their
kids were very, very, very sad. They knew they would never be able
to replace them. The people that knew the teenagers who were killed
were very sad too. There were only five graves that were ordered,
but more than 5 died in the explosion. Well, I guess that's where
my story will have to end. Maybe someday you can go to the West
Plains Cemetery to see the grave, or maybe you can find out more
about this huge explosion. Maybe you can hear the song "At
Sundown" sometime too.