On this day, 42 years ago a gas explosion killed 49 people and injured 135 at Rotunda PKO.

On this day, 42 years ago, on February 15th, 1979, a gas explosion killed 49 people and injured 135 at Rotunda PKO in Warsaw Center (intersection of Marszałkowska Street and Al. Jerozolimskie).

The official explanation of the explosion is the mistake made by a worker combined with the weather conditions of the moment “winter of the century”. Rumors stated that the building could have been blown up by a bomb.

At the moment of the explosion at 12:37, the bank was full of people, 170 were PKO employees and about 300 customers were inside the building. In an instant, all the glass walls were shattered, and thousands of pieces of glass and structural elements of the building were projected several hundreds of meters away, causing further victims outside the building.

Inside the bank, floors collapsed into the basement. Nearly 2,000 rescuers were involved in the research for a week. During the researches, blood was donated in a temporary medical office, located at the nearby Hotel Forum (currently Novotel Warszawa Centrum), the Zodiak restaurant offered meals to rescuers.

The building was rebuilt in a record time of 8 months before being dismantled in 2017. The registered structure was restored and reassembled in a more modern version of the building which reopened in 2019.

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