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Mayo, AK Sawmill Boiler Explosion, Aug 1930

TWO MIRACULOUS ESCAPES FROM DEATH AT MAYO CITY.

(Dawson News)
Mayo, Sept. 3. -- On Sunday, August 31, at about 9:30 a.m., one of the boilers in Kimbel Brothers' sawmill, here, exploded, killing two boilermen, HECTOR BEAULAC and CAMILLE LaROCHELLE, the heads of both men being badly crushed. The force of the explosion carried the boiler, which was connected to a smaller boiler not in use, over the smaller boiler demolishing the boiler house, and landing some 25 or 30 feet away. In its passage it struck a Graham truck, carrying it about 10 feet, and completely demolishing it. The two deceased were working near the front of the boiler, and were thrown, by the force of the explosion, onto a woodpile some 30 feet away. JAMES F. FINNEGAN and HUGH MONAHAN, mill employees, were both slightly scalded by the escaping steam. FINNEGAN was standing about six feet in back of the boiler when the explosion occurred and was knocked unconscious. When he had recovered, in a few minutes, he found that a part of the boiler way lying at his feet and the building collapsed over him. He crawled from the wreckage, and only then appreciated what a marvelous escape he had had from injury, being absolutely unharmed, with the exception of a few slight scratches on his body. MONAHAN was standing about 15 feet away from the boiler, on the outside of the building, when the explosion took place. He was enveloped in a cloud of steam, being scalded on the ankles and lower part of the legs. MONAHAN also had a very narrow escape, the smokestack of the boiler falling within a few feet of his head.
A coroner's inquest, presided over by Staff Sergeant Dempster, of the R. C. M. Police, was held on September 1. The evidence taken at the inquest would indicate that the boiler had developed some structural weakness, and that the probable cause of the explosion was the injection of cold water before the steam had sufficiently warmed the boiler. The jury also brought in the recommendation that the gold commissioner cause all boilers in the Mayo district to be inspected by some competent person once a year.
The damage to Kimbel Brothers' mill has not yet been estimated, but will be considerable, as the two boilers, the boiler house and the Graham truck are completely demolished.
Kimbel Brothers also had a large quantity of logs boomed in the river, near the mill. Owing to heavy rains in the mountains, the river rose considerably during the same night, and at about 6 o'clock in the morning of September 1 the boom went out and some 2,000 logs were lost by the firm.

Fairbanks Daily News-Miner Alaska 1930-09-27

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