The waitress replied, “I do, too.”
As if the conversation set it off, an enormous blast rocked the restaurant and the Alibi tavern next door. The floor dropped from beneath their feet and the ceiling came crashing down on top of them. For a moment, as the dust settled, there was silence. Then the screams began.
Fifty people were injured in the explosion and building collapse, six were killed.
The explosion occurred as a service truck was filling the butane gas tank the restaurant used for cooking.
Within a couple of weeks Knu Gas and Appliance of Boise and Nampa was running ads notifying customers that they had nothing to do with the explosion and extolling the safety of PROPANE gas and gas appliances.
By the end of the year, the “Superlatives of 47” feature in the Idaho Statesman listed the Forbidden Palace explosion the greatest Boise Valley disaster of the year.
Numerous lawsuits against the City of Nampa and the company that installed the butane tank were filed. The Idaho Supreme Court ultimately absolved the city of responsibility.
The blast increased calls for establishing a state fire marshal to formulate rules on LPG. Legislation was introduced and defeated in 1948. It wasn’t until 1982 that the first state fire marshal was named. The office is a division of the Idaho Department of Insurance. The director of that department selects the fire marshal with approval of the governor.