Buffalo, NY Yacht CEDAR RIDGE Boiler Explosion, Aug 1889

FOUR LIVES LOST.

BY THE EXPLOSION OF A STEAM YACHT'S BOILER.

FRIGHTFUL ACCIDENT AT BUFFALO -- THREE VICTIMS ROASTED TO DEATH AND ONE DROWNED.

THREE OTHER PERSONS BADLY BURNED -- AGONIZING SCENES ON BOARD THE ILL-FATED VESSEL.

Buffalo, N.Y., Aug. 8. -- At four o'clock Wednesday afternoon while the yacht Cedar Ridge, owned by MR. L. L. CROCKER, of East Buffalo, was being got ready for a trip down the river, and just as the engineer had started the fire, two explosions occurred on board in rapid succession. The yacht at once took fire and burned to the water's edge. Of those on board the following were killed:
ETHEL and LEONARD CROCKER, burned.
HOWARD CROCKER, a boy, burned.
JOHN RUBENSTEIN, a carpenter working on the dock, was burned to death by his boat house taking fire from the boat.
The injured are:
CHARLOTTE CROCKER and MISS McLEAN, a friend, both badly burned.
Engineer PETER COALMEYER, burned.
The explosion was due to the naphtha by which the boiler was heated. MR. CROCKER is superintendent of the New York Central stock yards at East Buffalo, and the three children killed belong to him. As soon as the explosions were heard, a boatman named Caleb Tolama got a boat and hurrying alongside picked up MISS McLEAN, who was badly burned. She was taken to the Homeopathic Hospital. She is about twenty-eight years of age. The people who hurried to the scene were first attracted by the sight of MR. CROCKER'S little son, who stood on the yacht's deck in a dazed condition, almost surrounded by the flames. He seemed unable to move, and when a man named Charles Schweigel reached a pike pole to him, the boy did not take hold of it. A moment later he fell back into the fire and was burned to a crisp in full view of the horrified spectators. Mr. Schweigel's face was badly scorched while he was trying to get the boy to grasp the pole. Attention was now directed to JOHN RUBENSTEIN, the carpenter, a man about thirty years old, who was clinging to a rafter in the shed that extended out over the yacht. He could not be reached and after hanging a few moments he apparently became suffocated and dropped into the flames below. He leaves a widow and five small children.
Two other children of MR. CROCKER, LEONARD LEMUEL, aged ten years, and ETHEL, aged nine years, also perished in the flames. Another child, CHARLOTTE, aged fourteen years, was blown into the water, but she was rescued and sent with MISS McLEAN to the hospital.
The yacht is known as a naphtha launch, the fuel being naphtha. It is supposed that some defect in the tank allowed the naphtha to leak out, and when the engineer struck a match to light the fuel under the boiler the loose naphtha exploded. The boat was bought by MR. CROCKER in New York last spring. It is completely destroyed, as is also the boat house.
MISS McLEAN was visiting the CROCKER family from Detroit. MR. CROCKER himself barely escaped with his life. He is almost crazed by his bereavement. His wife has been very ill, and it is feared she can not survive this shock. The condition of MISS McLEAN and CHARLOTTE CROCKER was reported late last night as serious, but not necessarily fatal.

Dunkirk Observer Journal New York 1889-08-08