Mattoon, IL Gas Light & Coke Company Explosion, Oct 1900

Big Explosion in Illinois.

Gas Plant at Mattoon Blown Into Ruins Owing to Leak.
Special To The New York Times

Mattoon, Ill., Oct. 20.-During the noon hour to-day a terrific explosion shook the whole city, and a portion of the plant of the Mattoon Gas Light and Coke Company was blown into ruins. Fire at once broke out, but was soon under control.

The wreck did not extend to the whole plant, which covers half a block, but only to the engine and purifying rooms in an annex building. At the time the superintendent and the force were at dinner, save the janitor, who was eating his luncheon in the purifying room, who was blown through a brick wall and picked up thirty feet away. His only injuries were serious burns about the head and face.

The cause of the explosion is attributed to a leak in the tanks, the gas being ignited by a lighted jet. Meantime the city is in darkness. The plant is owned by the National Gas and Water Company in Chicago. The loss, $12,000, is covered by insurance. The detonation shattered windows and was felt for miles.

The New York Times, New York, NY 21 Oct 1900