Birmingham, AL (near) Furnace Explosion, Mar 1926
FLAMING MASS IS SPREAD OVER AN AREA MANY FEET.
TWENTY MEN CAUGHT FORCE OF MASS OF METAL.
MANY ARE INJURED.
FEAR DEATH LIST WILL MOUNT AS DEBRIS IS LIFTED.
Birmingham, Ala., Mar. 20. -- (AP) -- Alabama's mine field today recorded another major disaster when sixteen men were killed and seventeen others injured in an explosion which wrecked furnace number 2 of the Woodward Iron Company, 10 miles west of Birmingham. First reports were conflicting as to the number of dead owing to confusion incident to removal of the bodies from the debris.
The top of the furnace was lifted and molten metal spread over an area of several hundred feet. The twenty men who caught the force of the flaming cloud had no chance to escape. Scores of other employes were working just outside the area covered by the scattering metal.
The furnace was an iron maker pig iron being produced after ore had been melted. Hundreds of tons of ore in the receptable was a liquid mass. The cause of the accident has not been determined.
The dead: H. O. MASSEY, furnace superintendent; BILL RUTHERFORD, FOREST LAWLEY and E. B. MARGIN, all white; L. FUNDERBURY and CLIFF BAUGH, negroes.
Ten white and seven negro workers were injured. Eight of the white men hurt were identified. They are WILLLIAM BEAVEY, WILL ACKER, J. P. DINSMORE, Z. H. HUMPHREYS, HENRY HOFFMAN, J. F. WOLF, JOE WEST and CHARLES NELSON.
The negro workers hurt are JOHN DEAS, ARCHIE BELL, PERDY COLLINS, JOE CAID, WILLIAM RIBB, RONA COPELAND and EDWARD BROWN.
Deputy Coroner Crowe at Bessemer said later he feared the death list would mount as it was believed other bodies would be found under debris at the wrecked plant.
The statement of the coroner as to the number of dead was confirmed at the offices of the company by A. P. Woodward, chairman of the board of directors. Several of the workers were buried under the wreck and it was hours before they were reached. It was believed at first that some of the workers about the furnace escaped but search revealed a dozen bodies hidden in the debris.
Gastonia Daily Gazette North Carolina 1925-03-20