Lebanon Reporter

State News

November 2, 2013

1963 coliseum blast still shapes survivor's life


I'm not leaving until I find my parents.

A heavy police presence had been on site to snuff out Halloween vandalism. Now, if officers and their many incoming counterparts weren't extracting the injured from the rubble, they were piling up now-ownerless shoes, purses and jackets. And counting the dead.

The cold of the ice made it a natural choice for a morgue. They covered the bodies with blankets, which weren't quite big enough to obscure some of the injuries.

Some victims were so badly burned that Indiana State Police Detective Don Carlisle couldn't tell if they were male or female.

"All their hair was burnt off," Carlisle said in a recent interview, "and they were burnt black."

Catholic priests delivered last rites. Authorities set up a clergy section at their makeshift control center so ministers could call next of kin.

News reporters tallied bodies and noted the chairs "scattered like ten-pins" and the concrete chunks "as big as three feet by four feet in size."

Yet Carlisle and at least one other couldn't help but notice that the mayhem was also strangely quiet. No one seemed to be crying. No one seemed to be raising voices.

Witnesses suggested it had been that way since soon after the blast. "The survivors," one account said, "were evidently too stunned to panic."

A family friend of Janie's from Tabernacle Presbyterian Church lived near the fairgrounds. Mrs. Goeke had heard the explosion — it shook the china out of her cabinet — and come running. She bumped into Janie by chance.

She, too, urged Janie to go to the hospital. But Janie still said no. Mrs. Goeke sat Janie down in a chair, in the care of a man loading people onto ambulances. Mrs. Goeke went inside.

Janie waited, her eyes scanning the scene. Each person on a gurney or walking out of the building could be Mommy or Daddy.

Text Only
State News

Featured items
Click below to browse and order photos

Photos from June 2014

Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Trump: DC Hotel Will Be Among World's Best Plane Crashes in Taiwan, Dozens Feared Dead Republicans Hold a Hearing on IRS Lost Emails Raw: Mourners Gather As MH17 Bodies Transported Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-free Travel Raw: MH17 Bodies Arrive in Netherlands Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Disabled Veterans Memorial Nearing Completion Last Mass Lynching in U.S. Remains Unsolved Home-sharing Programs Help Seniors Ex-NYC Mayor: US Should Allow Flights to Israel Clinton: "AIDS-Free Generation Within Our Reach" Judge Ponders Overturning Colo. Gay Marriage Ban Airlines Halt Travel to Israel Amid Violence VA Nominee McDonald Goes Before Congress US Official: Most Migrant Children to Be Removed Police Probing Brooklyn Bridge Flag Switch CDC Head Concerned About a Post-antibiotic Era Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide