This weekend marks the 30th anniversary of a disastrous event that struck a small north-central Iowa town, making headlines around the world. It was Friday night, February 2nd of 1973, when an explosion leveled part of downtown Eagle Grove, killing 14 people. Eagle Grove Fire Chief Gary Lalor (law’-lur) remembers the incident well. Chief Lalor was a young firefighter in the Wright County town when a suspected gas build-up exploded at the Coast to Coast store. It flattened the Chatterbox Cafe next door and the Locke’s Jewelry store. He was home at the time the call came in.He says it took a very long time just to get the fires out and to recover the remains of the victims. He says they were on the scene for about three days and had to call in a crane to pull out the material from the buildings as it looked like a bomb went off in them. Lalor says a ceremony was held five years ago in Eagle Grove at the site of the explosion, at which a plaque was dedicated as a memorial that includes the date and the names of the people killed.No special ceremonies or memorials are planned for this weekend. The exact cause of the blast was never determined.
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