Article from March 3, 1936, Cleveland Plain Dealer about explosion at Coulter restaurant and drug store

From the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Tuesday, March 3, 1936


$15,000 Explosion Wrecks Landmark Near Rocky River Bridge.

Natural gas exploding in the basement of the W.D. Coulter Co. drug store-restaurant-ice cream parlor, Sloan and Detroit Avenues, Lakewood, at 6 last night injured three men and wrecked the establishment.

Fire Chief C.A. Delaney of Lakewood estimated the damage at $15,000.

W.D. Coulter, 1311 Edanola Avenue, Lakewood, head of the company, whose store has been a landmark at the east end of the Rocky River bridge for 25 years, was burned on the face and head. Joseph Benedict, 21890 Lake Road, Rocky River, an employee, was burned on the head. Dr. George A. Poe, 17884 Beach Road, Lakewood, a customer, was cut on the head by flying glass. The three were treated at Lakewood Hospital.

Tell of Smelling Fumes.

Others in the place who escaped injury were Fred Ackerman, 1291 Edanola Avenue, pharmacist and member of the firm; Malcolm Lang, 1379 Elbur Avenue, Lakewood, son of Police Captain H. C. Lang of Lakewood, and a clerk in the store; Georgia Jolley, 8005 Lake Avenue N.W., a waitress; Earl Seedhouse, 1941 Telbir Avenue, Rocky River, a dish washer; Robert Larvis, 7221 Elton Avenue N.W., a cook, and Warren Purdue, 10933 Detroit Avenue N.W., a waiter. There also were five customers in the restuarant and two in the drug section.

Coulter and Claude Morris, 15103 Arden Avenue, Lakewood, said gas was smelled in the basement of the place yesterday morning and the East Ohio Gas Co. was notified. They said company employees came out and search the place for leaks, but found none except one in a shutoff cock. The gas company worked for more than three hours, Coulter and Morris said. Later the smell of gas returned, Coulter said, and he and Benedict were in the basement ""smelling for the leak"" when the explosion occurred.

All of the plate glass windows on the Detroit Avenue and Sloane Avenue sides were blown into the street, where several persons were waiting for street cars, but none was injured as far as could be learned.

The explosion caused an upheaval of the floors in the drug store and the restaurant. Showcase and counters were tossed about and turned over and the contents were strewn over the floors.

Windows in a barber shop operated by Jack Moss at 1391 Sloane Avenue, adjoining the Coulter Co. building, also were broken.

Fire which broke out in the basement of the Coulter store was extinguished soon after the arrival of Lakewood firemen. Capt. Lang and Lieut. C.J. Cossairt directed police squads in roping off the area in front of the store to protect pedestrians from falling glass and other materials as the building showed signs of bulging.

Date posted: 2015-09-25 17:34:31

Tagged: Coulter's Corner