Peoria, IL Distillery Explosion, Oct 1903

EXPLOSION IN BIG PEORIA DISTILLERY KILLS FOUR, HURTS FIVE.

ENTIRE NORTH WALL BLOWN DOWN, BUT FIRE FORTUNATELY IS AVERTED.

TWO MEN STILL MISSING.

OF THOSE RESCUED ALIVE FROM RUINS, TWO DIE ON THE WAY TO COTTAGE HOSPITAL -- HOW ACCIDENT OCCURRED.

THOUSANDS DRAWN TO SCENE.

COMPANY ESTIMATES ITS LOSS AT $75,000 AND IT WILL BE SEVERAL WEEKS BEFORE OPERATIONS ARE RESUMED.

Peoria, Oct. 3. -- An awful catastrophe occurred at the plant of the Corning Distilling Company, in the extreme south end of the city, at 9 o'clock this morning, when one of the cookers in the main building exploded with a deafening report, killing four of the employes, maiming many more and completely wrecking that portion of the distillery.
Fire alarms were immediately sent in for the entire department, and patrol wagons and ambulances were hurriedly summoned.
Fortunately the wreckage did not take fire, and the firemen immediately assisted the distillery employes who had escaped in the rescue of their less fortunate fellow-workmen.
The cooker is a steel contrivance about 30 feet in diameter and 80 feet in length, used in cooking the mashes.
It is presumed a vacuum was formed and when the steam was turned on to cook today's mash the explosion followed. The cooker was hurled through the north wall of the four-story structure a distance of 250 feet.
The entire north wall of the distillery was blown down and the south and east walls were also badly damaged. The wreckage was distributed all over the neighborhood.
The distillery management estimates their financial loss at fully $75,000, and it will be some weeks before the plant can be repaired sufficiently to resume operations.
Thousands of persons quickly gathered at the scene to assist in the work of rescue. JAMES McMANUS, an employe of the cooker room, was first removed from the wreck. He was dead, having been instantly killed. JAMES O'KEEFE was still alive when removed. He was badly burned all over his body by the scalding steam and died a few minutes after his removal to the Cottage Hospital.
NEIL POWELL, the assistant engineer of the cooker room, was dead when taken out. GEORGE SCHAEFFER, a boy 16 years of age, was alive when taken out, but died on the way to the hospital. He was scalded all over his body.
The missing:
JOHN WILSON, Government storekeeper.
GUY BRENNAN, yeastmaker.
The injured:
DANIEL CASHIN, both legs fractured, burned on arm; it is thought he will recover.
JAMES WELSH, burned on body, not badly; will recover.
GEORGE C. GEORGE, scalded about the head, face, hands and legs; not serious.
CHARLES LANE, hands burned; not serious.
"The Dago" name not known, badly scalded about the head; unconscious.
Corning's distillery was a comparatively new house, having been erected two years ago, and had a capacity of 6,000 bushels per day. It was equipped for the manufacture of the finished product, as well as highwines and alcohol.

St. Louis Republic Missouri 1903-10-04