Chicago, IL Building Explosion, May 1895
"Get a ladder up there quick," was the marshal's command. Four firemen threw a ladder up against the building while the marshal kept shouting words of encouragement to Meischall. The firemen stated up the ladder, but before they got to the second story Meischall had leaped from the window. He fell with crashing force on the sidewalk. Both of his legs and one arm were broken and he was also injured internally. The central detail police were soon on the scene, and with the firemen, rushed up the stairway to where the occupants were screaming for help. The flames had traveled to the third floor in an in creditably short time, but were easily quenched.
When the rescuers reached the second floor they found several men and women rushing frantically along the hall, their bodies bleeding and torn by the explosion. Everybody in the building was in bed when the explosion occurred, and the night-clothing was burned off some of them. They were carried down by the firemen and police, and those most seriously injured were taken to hospitals. The others were taken to a saloon in the neighborhood.
Augustus Meishall, with his wife and two children, slept on the third floor in front. Meischall and his wife who are French, have kept a boarding house and saloon for several months. The place was patronized principally by French people. The first rescue was that of Mrs. Mary Meischall and her two children. Two police officers made their was to her room and there found the three huddled together in a corner. Mrs. Meischall was badly burned about the back and was cut by pieces of glass as were her children. They are taken to St. Luke's hospital.
The explosion was so terrific that it was heard at the Central police station, more than a quarter of a mile distant. It was raining at the time and the officers at the station remarked that the report was a loud clap of thunder.
The explosion is supposed to have resulted from the accumulation of natural gas in the basement. There was a heavy bolt of lightning preceding the explosion and it was the theory of the firemen that this might have been the cause of it.
Two victims of the explosion died this morning. August Meischall who jumped from the third floor, sustaining serious internal as well as external injuries, died at St. Luke's hospital, where he was taken after the accident. Alexander Stune, who was terribly burned from head to foot, died at the county hospital. The other victims of the explosion are reported to be getting along very badly, and there will probably be other deaths to-day.
Frank Conci, for a time unidentified, died at the county hospital at noon to-day from burns and bruises received in this morning's explosion. Conci makes the third victim that has died from injuries received from the explosion.
Fort Wayne News, Fort Wayne, IN 11 May 1895