Montgomery, AL Buildings Collapse, July 1929

FEAR A SCORE LOST LIVES IN COLLAPSE OF 2 BUILDINGS.

MONTGOMERY, ALA., RESCUERS TAKING BODIES FROM DEBRIS.

UNABLE TO FIX NUMBER IN PLACE.

MANY OF THE EMPLOYES AT LUNCH WHEN CRASH OCCURRED.

Montgomery, Ala., July 15 -- (AP) -- Several score persons were believed buried under the debris of two large Montgomery mercantile houses which collapsed suddenly and without warning shortly after noon today. Every available physician and the entire forces of the city fire and police department were rushed to the scene to aid in rescue work.
The buildings were occupied by the Bullock Shoe Company and Pizitz Department Store, on Dexter Avenue, the city's principal thoroughfare. Both were three story structures.
Witnesses of the cave-in expressed belief that not a single occupant of the Pizitz Dry Goods Store, the first building to collapse, escaped. Hope was held that a few of the employes of the Bullock Shoe Store, next door, had time to gain the street before falling timbers caught them. It could not be readily ascertained how many persons were employed by the store, although the majority of them were believed to be young women.
Onlookers expressed the belief that excavations being made for a new store next door to the dry goods establishment caused the collapse of the buildings but fire men and city suthorities refused to be quoted until a thorough investigation could be made.
Seven ambulances were at the scene but forty-five minutes after the collapse rescuers had made little headway in removing the debris. Police formed barriers around the buildings to hold back the noonday crowds.
At 1:45 p.m. the bodies of two negroes had been removed from the mass of bricks and wreckage where the dry goods store stood, and rescuers were striving desperately to reach two white men, one of whom they said could be discerned clearly.
Tilford Leak, of the Leak Undertaking Company, whose fleet of ambulances were among those at the scene, said a number of uninjured persons had been taken from the wreckage. He said there was no means of estimating the number remaining to be rescued.
Pandemonium reigned immediately after the crash. Screams of the injured and witnesses to the collapse added to the din of timbers crashing from their aged fastenings. Stores along the spacious avenue which leads to the state capitol, revered throughout the south as the "cradle of the confederacy," were deserted by employes and shoppers alike, all rushing to the scene to aid in rescue work.

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