Olean, NY Train Wreck & Oil Tank Explosion, Mar 1903

OIL TANKS EXPLODED WITH AWFUL RESULTS.

OVER TWENTY DEAD AND HALF A HUNDRED FATALLY INJURED AT OLEAN N.Y. CROWDS GATHERED TO SEE THE TRAIN WRECK WHEN THE BURNING OIL EXPLODED CAUSING A FEARFUL LOSS OF LIFE.

The Dead:
NORMAN BROWN, aged 18 years, Olean.
JOHNNY TOBIN, aged 15 years, Olean.
JOHN McCREADY, aged 13 years, Olean.
JOHN McMAHON, aged 19 years, Olean.
MICHAEL V. DRISCOLL, aged 22 years, North Olean.
WALTER SWIFT, aged 19 years, Olean.
JOHN STEMLINGER, aged 17 years, Olean.
HENRY GODDEN, aged 18, years, Bordmanville.
RICHARD CONNELL, aged 19 years, North Olean.
WALTER JACKSON, aged 13 years.
WALTER ROTH, aged 16 years.
HERMAN ROLLMAN, aged 15 years.
ROFELO QUARTINO.
CARMEN SITELIANO.
Olean, N.Y., March 10. -- Fourteen charred and half-cremated bodies lying in the undertaking establishments or in the homes of their families, fourteen people lying badly injured in the hospitals, and a dozen or so more, not so seriously injured, at their homes are the result of the accident on the Erie Railroad last night, in which an oil train was wrecked and several oil cars exploded. Several of the patients in the hospital are seriously burned, one of them, RICHARD McDONALD, aged nine years, probably fatally.
The train broke in two east of Olean and the two sections of it came together with a crash. One of the oil tanks was demolished. Fire broke out, and the sky was lighted up for miles. A large crowd went from Loean to see the fire.

Explosion Occurs.
While the spectators were along the tracks a terrific explosion occurred. The flames communicated quickly with the other tank cars, and a second and third explosion followed each other in rapid succession. Sheets of flame shot out in all directions. Scores of persons were caught within the zone of the fire and enveloped in flames. Men and boys ran screaming down the tracks with their clothing on fire. Others fell where they stood, overcome by the heat.

New York Times New York 1903-03-11

Read more about the train wreck and explosion (below)