A night of true horror

Remembrance of the unexpected explosion of 1963 in Pepsi Coliseum

Imagine a little kid’s excitement and joy while watching an ice skating show, when suddenly they hear a big boom.

On Halloween night of 1963, more than 4000 people gathered at the Pepsi Coliseum to enjoy an ice skating exhibition called “Holiday on Ice”. During the middle of the show there was a big explosion that killed 74 people and injured nearly 400 others.

The explosion all happened because a rusty old gas tank in the concession stand was leaking. The unventilated room was soon filled with the gas and when it made contact with an electric popcorn machine a blast of orange flames shot 40 feet up through the south seats.

Police officers were already in the building to prevent any Halloween pranks that teens were planning on doing. They rushed to help the victims and soon the rescuers were at the scene searching all over the section where the blast occurred for any survivors.

The rescuers used the cattle barn as a temporary hospital. They moved very fast to help those injured and those who were looking for their lost ones.


Only one conviction was made in this disaster. The president of the gas supplying company was convicted, but the verdict was later overturned by the Indiana Supreme Court.

The survivors received about 4.6 million dollars in settlements. The coliseum was soon renovated just in time for a Beatles concert.