I would like to know the odds of a 15 person team all not showing up for a meeting for common reasons that one may not show up to meet. The story:
On March 1, 1950, choir practice was scheduled, as usual, for 7:20 PM at the West Side Baptist Church in Beatrice, Nebraska. The choir members would usually all gather by 7:15 PM. At 7:25 PM a gas leak caused an explosion and destroyed the church. None of the 15 choir members scheduled to practice died.
1. Three people, the minister, Reverend Walter Klempel, his wife, and his daughter, Marilyn Ruth, were all set to leave on time. They were almost out the door when Marilyn Ruth noticed her dress had a stain. Her mother took out another dress and started ironing it. When the church exploded, they were still at home.
2. Two people, the pianist, Marilyn Paul, was planning to be at the church 30 minutes early. But she took a nap after dinner and overslept. Her mother, the choir director, who also wanted to be there early tried to wake up Marilyn several times. Finally, she shook her awake at 7:15 PM. Marilyn was still struggling to get ready, with her mother waiting so they leave together, when they heard the blast.
3. Two high-school girls, Lucille Jones and Dorothy Wood, would always go together. On that evening, Lucille was transfixed by a radio program. The girls were usually prompt, but Lucille uncharacteristically wanted to stay until 7:30 PM so she can finish the program. Dorothy waited for her.
4. Three people: Two sisters, Royena and Sadie Estes, left early but their car wouldn’t start. They called a friend, Ladona Vandergrift, who was usually early for practice and asked her to give them a ride. But Ladona was a high-school sophomore who happened to be held behind by homework that night. She was dealing with a very complicated geometry problem and wanted to finish it before leaving. Both she and the Estes sisters were late.
5. A lathe operator, Herbert Kipf, was running ahead of time. But then he was pulled back by the thought of an unfinished important letter. He sat down to finish it. He was still on his desk when the church exploded.
6. Two people: Mrs. Schuster left early with her small daughter, Susan. But before going to church she had one stop. Her mother was due to leave to a missionary meeting and needed help. Mrs. Schuster and little Susan went to help and were delayed.
7. Machinist Harvey Ahl had his wife to thank. She happened to be away that evening and he was looking after their two boys. He was taking both of them to choir practice. But getting them organized was taking long and all three of them were late.
8. Stenographer Joyce Black, who lived across the street from the church, was feeling “just plain lazy.” The evening was very cold and she was all huddled up in her warm house. She didn’t feel like going out and stayed until the last possible moment.
The Blast At 7:25 PM the empty church exploded. Later, firemen would theorize that a gas leak caused it. The blast was heard in the entire town of Beatrice. It shattered the windows of buildings and disconnected the radio station. The West Side Baptist Church shattered to smithereens. The roof collapsed and the walls exploded outwards in an explosion that would have killed anyone inside.
Now here are some statistics that may or may not be relevant to determining the odds of fifteen people of a group who regularly meets all unintentionally not meeting on the same day:
The world population on May 1st, 1950 was approximately 2,525,149,000 humans. America’s was 150,697,361. Nebraska’s was 1,325,510 million people. Beatrice Nebraska’s was 12,413 people.
According to the 1952 Yearbook of American Churches, there were approximately 252,000 church buildings in the United States in 1950. This number includes churches of all denominations, sizes, and types, ranging from small rural congregations to large urban cathedrals.
From 1957 to 1966 the average number of building explosions from gas leaks were 393 and caused building damage,152 were severe and so destroyed half or all of the building it can be reasonably guessed. This is according to the document NBSIR 73-208, Residential Buildings and
by E. F. P. Burnett, N. F. Somes and E. V. Leyendecker of
the Center for Building Technology
Institute for Applied Technology
National Bureau of Standards published in June, 1973.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), from 1925 to 1950, an average of 11,700 buildings were destroyed annually by structural failures and fires in the United States. In the year 1950 specifically, there were a total of 12,100 buildings destroyed by these causes.
https://www.discoveryaba.com/statistics/time-wasted-in-meetings says that the average delay per meeting for employees is 10 minutes and 40 seconds. Even though this concerns work meetings it is a decent way to get an average of how late people are in general to meet.
According to https://www.forbes.com/sites/niallmccarthy/2014/12/03/how-often-are-americans-late-for-work-infographic, a YouGov poll, one in five Americans (19%) arrive late for work at least once a week while just under half (48%) are never late.
Based on this data, what could the odds be of 15 person church choir all scheduled to meet for church choir in May, 14 1950 all failing to meet at their church for different reasons that had nothing to do with their church, not dying or being injured when it exploded from some gas leak, and for no else around it being harmed or killed either? Please explain how you got your answer if you were able to come up with the odds of all 15 people not showing up to the usual meeting unintentionally when such an event was rare. My guess is because we don’t know how rare it was for them to be late, a formula can only be made if the average number of people late for a meeting is known on any day.
One thought on “A Math Problem; Coincidence or Miracle – The West Side Baptist, Nebraska Salvation Miracle”
That is totally amazing!!!!
A true miracle indeed!