Nashua, NH Gas Explosion, Feb 1854


House Blown Up - Five Persons Injured.

[From the Manchester (N. H.) Mirror]
A very singular and wonderful accident occurred at Nashua, at 11 o'clock Tuesday evening. MRS. MARY BALL, a widow, occupied tenement No. 1, on Canal street, owned by the JACKSON corporation. Three of her boarders came home from Dodge's concert a few minutes past 11 o'clock, and as soon as they entered the house smelt gas. They wondered where it could come from, as none was used in the house or in that block of buildings, but the main gas pipe runs within six feet of the house. One of them, CHARLES WINN, took a lamp and opened the cellar door, and forthwith a terrible explosion took place, raising the house from its foundations and blowing the inside into fragments.

DANIEL MARSHALL, brother to NATHANIEL, who was formerly an overseer in one of the mills in this city, was sleeping in a bed alone in the second story, and was thrown, bed, bedstead and bed-clothes clean across Canal street before he waked up. It did not injure him so badly but that he jumped up and exclaimed, "Where am I? where shall I go?" The last question was not so easily answered, as by that time the doors and windows of the boarding houses were filled with men and women, and he was not dressed to see company. He is bruised considerably, but is so as to be up and out doors to-day.

A MR. LEONARDS, asleep also in the second story, was thrown out of the end of the building, bedding and all, some ten feet but not much hurt. It is strange the three in the kitchen were not injured more. WINN, who opened the cellar door, was burnt somewhat, but not badly.

BROOKS PIERCE was about six feet from him and was thrown up with the house and floor and dropped into the cellar, but escaped with scars and bruises not serious.

LEWIS B. BALL, son of the woman that occupied the house, was standing about four feet from the cellar door, and thinks he was thrown to the attic; at any rate, he says, he hit three times on his upward ascent, and came down to near where he started. He is worse injured than any other person, in his back and hip, so that he cannot move in bed, and some eight or ten flesh wounds are on his face. His injuries are probably temporary.

There was a new part of the house in which MR. CALL and three others slept. They were uninjured. All the furniture, clothing, etc., in the main part of the house was blown “every which way.” Between that tenement and the next was a brick wall a foot thick, and yet the explosion was powerful enough to throw the bricks of the kitchen fireplace of the next tenement into the kitchen, and damage to every room in the house but one.

The main gas pipe cracked in front of the house and the gas found its way into the cellar rapidly. MRS. BALL was down in the cellar one hour and a half before the accident occurred and smelt no gas. The canal is near by, the gas pipe crosses it under the bridge exposed to the cold, and, it is supposed, the pipe was contracted so as to break. It may be that it was fortunate that these men went to the Concert, as otherwise the gas might have filled the house and all have been killed before morning. We visited the remains this morning, and in common with hundreds present, wondered how the five injured could have escaped with their lives.

The Quincy Daily Whig Illinois 1854-02-22