Chicago, IL Sugar Refinery Explosion, Mar 1890 - Men Buried in Ruins

A Terrific Explosion

A Chicago Sugar Refinery Blown to Atoms

Many Men Buried in the Ruins

Twelve Lives Lost and a Large Number of Workmen Fearfully Burned and Bruised-The Wreck Takes Fire and Burns Some of the Victims To An Unrecognizable Mass.

Chicago, March 28.-At 6 o’clock last night a large boiler burst in the big sugar refinery, located at Beach and Taylor Street. The flames occasioned by the explosion reached the starch department, and a second explosion followed. Three floors of the great building and the timbers supporting it were blown to atoms, and at least fifteen of the employees are said to have been killed.

A score of physicians and surgeons are on the ground, and thousands of men are at work on the debris, beneath which the bodies of the unfortunate men are buried. The building took fire and every department in the city responded to the general alarm.

The building was literally blown to pieces. A large section of it landed on the river and the rest is lying in confused heaps for a distance of two blocks. Owing to the reticence of the officers of the sugar refinery and the ignorance of the most of their employees, it is nearly impossible now to get anything like a complete list of the men who were at work in the starch building, and nothing like a correct estimate of the number probably killed can be made.

Long after the flames in the ruins had been extinguished a body was drug from beneath a huge pile of brick and mortar and sent over to Yeager’s morgue, on Twelfth street. It was so horribly burned and bruised as to be unrecognizable. The scattered remains of another body, supposed to be that of a boy, were found by a fire company and turned over to the police, and still later a third body was found.

The latest reports obtainable show that at least twelve men are missing. Those whose names have been learned are as follows. They were all employees of the refinery, and they are all believed to be dead: ALBERT HESS, FRANK WALLISH, FRANK and AUGUST TIEMAN, PETER SCHRADER, MIKE HAUER and FRANK GROFF.

The names of the wounded, so far as they could be ascertained, are as follows:

DR. ARNOLD BEHER, general superintendent of the refinery, face badly burned.

HENRY HUBELDT, foreman of the house, arms, face, neck, head and feet burned, may die.

JOHN SMITH, laborer, burned and bruised, supposed that he inhaled hot air and that his limbs are affected. He may die.

OSCAR SCHAETZ, laborer, face, neck and arms burned almost raw.

PETER GERHARDT, laborer, fearfully cut by flying brick and timbers and burned.

About twenty other employees burned and bruised more or less seriously.

A fireman, name unknown, was blown to the edge of the river where he was picked up by a tug man. He was badly bruised about the head.

Newark Daily Advocate, Newark, OH 28 Mar 1890