Rochester, NH Shoe Factory Explosion, Jan 1884



ROCHESTER, N. H., Jan. 18.--Four men were instantly killed and seven seriously injured by the bursting of a boiler here this afternoon, at the shoe factory of Wallace Brothers. The accident happened in the engine-room. The shop is run by an engine of 120 horse-power, to which are attached three boilers. At noon the safety valve was noticed to be out of order, and the engineer weighed it down with bricks. The middle boiler was disconnected, and at 1 P. M. the machinery was started with two boilers. This was not sufficient to run the works, so orders were given to shut down, which was done at 2 P. M. At 2:15 the boiler, which had been disconnected, exploded, and was blown through the rear of the building into the storehouse, a distance of 150 feet. The side wall of the building, built of brick, a foot and a half thick, was blown out and the roof of the engine-house shattered. The list of killed is as follows: John Grimes, boss of the yard and in charge of the engine at the time, was blown to the currying shop, a distance of 75 feet. He strnck{sic} against a doorsill and one leg was torn off above the thigh, and carrird{sic} into the house. At the time of the explosion Grimes was talking to William Cleveland, and he also was blown a long distance and died instantly. John Grimes was 45 years old and had five children. Cleveland was 26 years old and married. Angelo Hoitt, fireman, aged 30, with one child, was buried in the débris of the chimney, 84 feet deep, and was taken out dead. A Frenchman, Joseph de Prie, 28 years old, married, with one child, was struck by flying bricks or timbers, and was also instantly killed. The wounded are as follows:

Joe Garmer, head and shoulder hurt and cut by broken glass; is liable to bleed to death.
Thomas Downing, badly bruised.
Joseph Davison, 40 years old, with four children, breast injured and face cut.
Frank Hurd, 30, married, hand and arm hurt.
William Grimes, son of John Grimes, slightly hurt on the head.
Patrick Barry is missing, but may not be dead or hurt.
The damage to the building is considerable; to the engine-house and machinery it is estimated to be about $500. All the windows in the currying shop were broken and the roof was damaged. The main buildings are not hurt. There are reports that the boilers were condemned two years ago, the glass in the windows for 1,000 feet around was shattered. The building is a mass of smoldering ruins. It is not known how many people were buried in the ruins, but the firemen have recovered up to the present time the bodies of three men, terribly burned.

The New York Times, New York, NY 19 Jan 1884