News: Neillsville -Sniteman Drug Store Damaged (7 Feb 1919)

Contact: Ann Stevens

Surnames: Sniteman, Sontag, Kountz

----Source: Neillsville Times (Neillsville, Clark Co., WI) 2/13/1919

Sniteman Drug Store Damaged by Explosion (7 Feb 1919)

On Friday afternoon the C.C. Sniteman drug store was the scene of a peculiar accident and one which caused considerable damage. Geo. Sontag had been mixing some shellac and had put the jug containing the mixture on the stove to warm. This was his usual practice in this compounding and he had done so many times before. He thought nothing of leaving the shellac while he went to dinner. However, in this instance it seemed that he had not corked the jug as tightly as usual, with the result that the alcohol in the mixture evaporated. It formed a vapor or gas in the store which was not noticeable to the clerks or customers. However, R.F. Kountz stepped up to the cigar lighter in the front end of the store to light his cigar. The moment the light flashed there was an explosion, the alcohol gas igniting instantly. As all the doors and windows of the store happened to be closed at that instant, the full force of the explosion was taken by one of the large plate glass windows in front of the store and next to the cigar counter. It was blown out and shattered into a thousand pieces. Small bits of it were blown clear into the street.

The fire whistle on the condensary was blown and the fire company was soon there, but their services were not needed, though the shellac jug took fire. It was an exciting affair while it lasted.



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