PHOTOGRAPHER GIVES GRAPHIC DESCRIPTION
by Marvin Richmond
I've been a news photographer for more than 15 years, covering everything from newborn infants to murders, but I can hardly reach for the words in my vocabulary to describe what I saw about 5 o'clock yesterday.
Following three Worcester police ambulances, cruisers and fire apparatus to Great Brook Valley, I stopped to see hundreds of people walking blindly about in a stupor.
Mothers were holding children in their arms, covered with blood. One woman was holding a child no more than a year old with another clinging to her torn apron. There was a look of amazement in her eyes.
Everywhere I went there were cries of "please help me." At this time few doctors had arrived, and police, firemen and bystanders were doing all they could to alleviate pain. This was just at the entrance to the vast housing area. The worst was yet to come. Ambulances from all over the city responded, but at first could not enter the disaster area as power lines were down.
Hedge-hopping over the power lines I entered the area where a Worcester public bus had been hurled 40 or more feet and lay on its side. Inside lay bodies, some moving - others never to move again.
Down the street a grown man came running, sobbing as I have never seen a man cry. He could not find his wife, and calmly over in a corner of a building were 15 mothers feeding their babies their needed bottles. One mother said to me as she looked at the recently constructed buildings "that was all we had."
All of a sudden a shout of "FIRE" broke out and one of the units burst into flames. Police cruisers were pleading over loudspeaker systems with everybody not to smoke. There was gas in the area.
I saw one convertible that was badly damaged but the engine still ran, making at least 15 trips back to Lincoln Street where ambulances and volunteers were making round trips to all the city hospitals. Suddenly I came upon two bodies — those of a man and a woman. A helper asked me what to do. There was nothing anybody could do but reverently cover them over with a tarpaulin.
A cry arose from one of the several loud speakers that radio stores quickly set up on trucks that all able-bodied men were wanted at once to help move a foundation of a house where a woman was trapped.
At once the hill was swimming with helpful beings. As I stood on top of a fire engine making a photograph on the line of helpless subjects, a man and woman tugged at my pant leg that was covered with mud and begged me to answer them. "Did it hit in Shrewsbury?" Their little boys were there visiting.
From my vantage point I looked up and saw the side of the brick and steel building was sheared off. The interior furnishings, however, were untouched. The bright red chair and divan were in the correct place, looked like a model house that had been cut away for the buyer to examine.
Worcester Telegram, June 10, 1953.