Sunday, October 21, 2007

Not Necesarily This Day In Knickerbocker Village History: May 28, 1939

One woman was killed and two other persons were slightly injured shortly after midnight when an explosion that was heard throughout the East Side from the Battery to Fourteenth Street wrecked two apartments in Knickerbocker Village, 130 Cherry Street, and caused damage to others throughout the building, The woman who was killed was Mrs. Ruth Rundt, 22 years old, a model, who came to the United States from Berlin, Germany, three years ago. She lived in apartment H F 0 on the ninth floor, the scene of the blast. She was found under the overturned range in her kitchen. Five jets were open on the range and the police expressed the belief that she had committed suicide by gas poisoning and that the escaping fumes had become ignited, causing the explosion, Miss Jean Sayer, a school teacher, roommate of Mrs. Rundt, was not in the apartment at the time. In the adjoining apartment Mr. and Mrs. Jack Velleman, who were asleep, were blown out of bed. Mr. Velleman was treated for a cut on the knee and his wife for shock. The body of Mrs. Rundt, who wad said to have been separated from her husband, was identified by a friend, Heinz Norden, executive of a publishing company. Firemen worked over her for two hours in a vain effort to revive her. The blast shook the apartment building to Its foundations and all the occupants fled to the street. The Rundt apartment is on a corner and faces on a court. Both outer walls and three windows, were blown out and the apartment completely wrecked. The adjoining Velleman apartment was badly damaged. The explosion, the cause of which was not determined, occurred at 12:45 A. M. Fire apparatus and police emergency squads were rushed to the scene, drawing in their wake huge crowds that augmented the hundreds who had fled from the building. The impact of the blast was so severe that many tenants ran into the street believing they had felt an earthquake. Windows were shattered, china broken and furniture overturned. Extra police were rushed to the scene from the Oak Street station when the crowds seemed to be get-ting out of control. Motorists from all parts of the city added further congestion to the area.

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