GAS EXPLOSION WRECKS CHURCH
ANNEX OF WEST GOSHEN GERMAN BAPTIST
BY EXPLOSION SUNDAY EVENING
THREE MEN BADLY INJURED BY DEBRIS
These were the headlines on April 1, 1906 after a terrible explosion of an acetylene gas system wrecked the rear end of the German Baptist Church in West Goshen on the preceding (Sunday) evening. The explosion was heard a distance of four miles, and houses in the city were shaken by the shock.
In the basement of the annex was an acetylene tank which furnished the gas for the gas lighting system for the church. This acetylene gas plant had been in use at the church for four or five years.
A meeting preceding the Sunday evening service was drawing to a close and the congregation was singing with the service about to commence when the explosion took place. About 150 people were seated in the church and Elder John Stafford had taken a seat on the platform.
The lights suddenly went out and MH, who takes care of the church, went to the basement to ascertain what the trouble was, and struck a match. The explosion followed. The rear addition to the church was blown to pieces, and fragments of the door leading into this part of the church was hurled down the aisle that leads up to the door.
The congregation was thrown into the wildest confusion and the explosion shook the city.
The one-story rear addition (40 x 12 feet) was a complete wreck and there was no insurance on the building. The damage to the building was estimated at $500.00.
Source: A History of the West Goshen Church by Dean L. Henry