50th Anniversary of the Eagle Grove Explosion Remembered
Eagle Grove is remembering a tragedy that made worldwide headlines 50 years ago Thursday. An explosion rocked the downtown business district, leveling the Chatterbox Cafe, a Coast-to-Coast store and a jewelry story. Fourteen people were killed, including a firefighter and the son of former governor Robert Blue. In a 2010 interview, then-Eagle Grove Fire Chief Gary Lalor reflected on the catastrophe.
Firefighters from several area communities battled the flames through the night. The Iowa National Guard and the Iowa State Patrol assisted in the search and rescue effort for victims in the rubble. Cranes were used in the effort from nearby Fort Dodge. Lalor says it’s still unclear what caused the blast.
Chief Lalor died in 2016. A plaque honoring the memory of the victims was placed on the outside wall of the Ben Franklin store in Eagle Grove in 1993. No formal ceremony is planned to remember the victims on this anniversary.