Indianapolis, IN Boiler Explosion At Fair Grounds, Oct 1869

A TERRIBLE CALAMITY.

A BOILER EXPLODES AT THE STATE FAIR GROUNDS.

NINETEEN PERSONS KNOWN TO BE KILLED.

MANY MORE DANGEROUSLY WOUNDED.

A HORRIBLE SCENE -- THE DEAD AND DYING.

THE ENGINEER AND WORKMEN AMONG THE KILLED.

FRAGMENTS OF BODIES SCATTERED IN ALL DIRECTIONS.

THE CAUSE AND THE MANNER.

(From the Indianapolis Sentinel, Oct. 2.)
About four o'clock yesterday afternoon, just as the crowd at the Fair Grounds was beginning to leave the race track where the trotting was going on, the air was rent by a loud explosion in the vicinity of Power Hall. The first impression of most people was that it was a cannon firing, but second thought, and the sight of materials of some kind or other flying through the air, convinced them that it could be nothing less than the explosion of one of the boilers in or near Power Hall. At once a rush was made for that part of the grounds, and in a few minutes nearly every person in the enclosure was in that vicinity, only to find that their worst conjectures had proved true. The boiler attached to Sinker & Co.'s portable engine had exploded while a trial of saw mills was taking place, and while a great crowd was standing about.
The first thing to be seen upon getting within a hundred feet of Power Hall were crowds of men surrounding and pressing upon two or three wounded persons. These, although badly, were not seriously hurt, and for a moment we thought that this might have been the extent of the disaster, but pushing on through the dense crowd, one of the most horrible scenes suddenly burst upon our gaze. The ground, which was bare and blackened, was covered with broken pieces of wood and iron, and in spaces, only kept open with the greatest difficulty, lay the black, mangled bodies of twenty dead and wounded men. Some were torn and disfigured beyond recognition; some were naked and bleeding; some had no apparent wound; some were already still and cold in death, and some were groaning and shrieking in fearful agony. Men and women, laboring under the most intense excitement, were rushing in all directions, solicitous to learn who were injured or killed, and for several moments everybody seemed demoralized. But a reaction came quickly; surgeons were called for, and assistance given to the living, who were cared for as much as could be done, and as soon as possible were removed to the city. The scene upon the grounds can never be portrayed. The bodies of nine men and one woman, who a few moments before had been full of life and strength, lay dead within a radius of fifty feet, and from all directions came the groans of the wounded, and the cries of anxious parents, wives and husbands seeking for their dear ones, and the agonizing shrieks of two or three unfortunate ones who found those they were hunting for among the dead and wounded. Along the ground for a distance of a hundred feet or more, on every side, were lying portions of human bodies, brains, limbs, feet, hands and ears, and in three directions were the bodies of horses which had been struck by pieces of the engine or sawmill, the debris of which was scattered over a wide space. Oh, it was a horrible sight, never to be forgotten as long as memory endures. Long after all the bodies had been removed the crowd kept increasing. Every one who had a relative or a friend upon the grounds was fearful lest they might have been injured, and could not rest until they knew the truth. When the news reached the city, hundreds hurried out, and it was not until dark that the ground was deserted.

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