Paterson, NJ Paper Mill Explosion, Apr 1887

A MILL WRECKED.

A FATAL BOILER EXPLOSION AT PATERSON, N.J.

PART OF THE BOILER HURLED THROUGH THE WALL OF ANOTHER MILL.

Consternation spread among the employees in the mills and factories in the vicinity of the Ivanhoe Paper Mills at Paterson, N.J. Saturday afternoon. The earth and buildings shook perceptibly and almost immediately came a loud rumbling detonation. The report and vibration were caused by the explosion of a large boiler in the Ivanhoe Mill. A scene of great excitement ensued.
Added to the already great excitement in the vicinity was the dashing up of the fire engines. The mill had taken fire. The building in which the explosion took place was a two-story brick, seventy feet long and about thirty feet wide. This was as completely demolished as if it had been torn down by hand, excepting at some points the beams were left in dangerous positions. As fast as the injured were taken out of the ruins they were placed in the ambulance and sent to St. Joseph's Hospital. Hacks were also pressed into service for the work.
The exploded boiler was a rotary one in which rags are boiled. It had been in use a long number of years. The boiler was of a rather peculiar construction and somewhat resembled a huge submarine torpedo. It revolved on a huge shaft and was located in the mill fronting on Spruce Street.
When the explosion took place one-half of the boiler shot across Spruce Street, which is about seventy-five feet wide, and passed through the brick wall of the silk mill of J. H. Booth & Co. This half of the boiler went through the wall with a terrific crash, following it the roof of the silk mill fell in. The boiler passed completely through this mill and across an alleyway about ten feet wide and lodged against the wall of another brick mill, making a huge semi-circular hole in it. At the time the boiler went through the Booth Mill the walls of the paper mill were crumbling in, and the whole made a dull, roaring noise that could be heard a long distance.
On Saturday in Booth a silk mill the hands consisting mainly of young women, are let out at half-past 2 o'clock and as the hands do not generally tarry long about the mill after quitting time, they had all left with the exception of four girls who were still in the building when it went down, but singular to state they escaped with slight bruises about the head and face. One of the four was blown through a window sash into the yard by the concussion and escaped injury.
The following is a list of the persons killed and injured by the accident:
Killed:
MICHAEL BURKE, boilerman, aged sixty, of Jersey Street, leaves a wife and family.
Fatally Injured:
MAGGIE VAN SILE, skull fractured and face and head badly lacerated.
JAMES SIMPSON, chest crushed; died next day.
WILLIAM JENKINS, head crushed.
Severely Injured:
DAVID TODD.
MARIE FARRELL.
ELLEN FAULKNER.
BRIDGET COWAN.
MRS. MAGGIE CONNOLLY.
SARAH McGRANGER.
LIZZIE McGRANGER.
BRIDGET McCORMICK.
OWEN BURKE.
RACHEL LEVY.
MARY KEISBURG.
The pecuniary loss by the explosion will probably amount to $30,000 to property, to say nothing of the loss of life that will follow. The boiler house and the silk mill were completely wrecked. The damage done in the vicinity to glass was immense. Windows in houses several blocks away were broken.

Hammond Advertiser New York 1887-04-28