Clipped From The Bridgeport Telegram
25 Killed by Mystery Blast In New German Dwelling Robes Jackets "Martex" Terrys While and Colors 10.00 FRANKFURT, Germany, Dec. 7 -- (AP) A mysterious explosion at dawn today demolished a new five* story apartmeut building in midtown midtown Frankfurt, killing 25 of its 32 occupants. Seven of tbe dead were children. were investigating the possibility political as-nassms were *espcnsible for the blast, xvhich trapped sleeping sleeping tenants The explosion was heard two miles away. Owner Among Dead Among the dead was the Slovak- born architect-owner of the building, building, Mathias Stenczel, 58, and police police were attempting to learn whether he had political enemies in Slovak exile circles. An official of the communist Hungarian trade mission here and his wife survived the explosion, police police said. They were identified as Istvan Szeles, 29, and Eve Szeles, 23. The other occupants all were described described as Germans The building's address is 14 Koel- nerstrasse* Other possibilities investigated by police were that a dud aerial bomb from World War II exploded under the building into which 12 families moved two weeks ago; that gas seeped from a city mam into the structure, or that a tenant had unlawfully tried to tap the gas mam. Police first suggested that gas from the building's coal-fed steam heating system was the cause, but later turned to other theories, The explosion, at 5:40 a m , the worst disaster in West Germany's Germany's vast postwar building program. program. All that was left of the structure structure was a 20-foot high mound of broken concrete and splintered wood. U. S. Soldiers Assist German police and firemen and U. S. military police and engineers dug into the wreckage under floodlights floodlights with bare hands and picks and shovels until the arrival of two 20-ton U. S. motorized Army cranes. Seven persons -- three men, two women and two children -- were rescued from the wreckage. Hearing Hearing faint cries, rescuers uncovered a 12-year-old, pa jama-clad boy who for six hours had huddled beneath a supported piece of concrete. Another pajama-clad survivor, a man, found shelter beneath an overturned bathtub. ,. A 28-year-o 1 cl woman was wedged between two blocks of concrete which had formed formed protection. At one time the damaged wall of an adjoining building threatened to collapse on the 150 German and American rescue workers. They ran for safety, but soon resumed work. By 9 p m. all 25 bodies known have been buried under the tons of debris had been recovered. But police ordered the search continued continued under floodlights after they received an unconfirmed report a guest of one farfiil had remained remained overnight. Mailed Bomb Recalled In investigating the possibility of a political motive behind the tragedy, police recalled that it was from Frankfurt that an assassin's bomb was mailed last July to Matus Matus Cernak, chairman of the anticommunist anticommunist National Council of Slovakia. Slovakia. The parcel blew Cernak to bits when he started to open it in a Munich postoffice A German woman woman standing nearby was killed and 14 other persons injured. The Prague government had attacked Cernak as a spy and a traitor. killer has never been caught. The City of Frankfurt publicly thanked the U S. Army for its prompt aid The Germans said that without the Army help it would have taken many hours to dig through the wreckage Two XT. S. Army military poll e were among the first on the scene. They were Pvt, Walter Mulewski, 21, of Bayonne, N. J. r and Pfc, Harry Harry Vann, 20, of Spartansburg, S. C. "We got here within five minutes minutes after the explosion," Mulewski said. "The building looked like it was hit by a blockbuster. It sure was a shocker to look at."