Upper Sandusky, OH Glycerin Explosion, Sept 1904

Five Are Killed By Glycerine

Charge Exploded in Oil Well, Causing Death of Group Standing Above.

Effort Being Made to Take Valuable Pipe From Abandoned Hole.

Groom Among The Victims

Cincinnati Man Was Making First Visit at Bride’s Home When He Met Death-Child of Two Years Had Arm Torn Off and Died of Shock-Other Bodies were Badly Mangled-Shock of Explosion Was Heard Many Miles.

Special To The Plain Dealer.

Upper Sandusky, Sept. 4.-Five people were killed and as many more terribly injured in a n explosion of several quarts of nitroglycerine on the farm of ex-County Clerk A.L. Sterner, three miles north of here shortly before 1 o’clock this afternoon. The dead:
Mahlon Lookabaugh, Findlay, married and leaves a widow and three sons.
Lafe McKay, Findlay, single.
Joseph Fox, Lima.
Emauel Irben, Cincinnati, married only a few months ago.
Dorine Wise, aged two, Upper Sandusky.

The Injured are:
Ernest Wise, married and the father of the little child killed. His leg is broken in several places and he is otherwise frightfully mangled about the breast. The doctors think he will die.
Alice Wise, aged four, injured about the groin by flying pieces of iron, will die.
Louis Lookabaugh, Findlay, terribly mangled about the body and internally injured. His leg was amputated this evening and the doctors say he will not survive the shock.
Harry Gulliver, aged nine, who was standing near Lafe McKay, escaped without a scratch.

The scene of the explosion was an abandoned oil well on the Sterner farm owned by the Ottawa Oil Co., composed of Ottawa, Findlay and Lima capitalists. The well was drilled six months ago, a dry hole, and contained nearly 1,000 feet of valuable pipe. An attempt was made yesterday to force several quarts of nitroglycerine to the bottom of it for the purpose of removing the pipe. The shot was unsuccessful.

Arrangements were made for a larger shot to be put down today accordingly McKay came here from Carey, where there is a storage house, with three cans of nitroglycerine. A two-quart charge had been lowered into the well to loosen the casing and as they started to pull it out the “go devil” cut the wire and it failed to explode. A second shot was lowered and when an attempt was made to pull the wire up after the first charge the wire in some manner caught the first charge which exploded about 100 feet from the top of the well with frightful results. The killed and injured were grouped about the well.

All, with the exception of McKay were killed instantly, but the latter lived about two hours after the accident. He was frightfully mangled about the body, but related to Coroner Stutz the story of the explosion. All were mangled about the head and body with the exception of little Dorine Wise, who was not apparently injured beyond her left arm being blown off.

Emanuel Irban lived at St. Paris, O., but for several months past was employed as clerk in a clothing store at Cincinnati. He was married a few months ago to Miss Daisy Marshall of this city, in Cincinnati and this was their first trip home after the wedding.

The force of the explosion was distinctly felt for six miles around. The bodies of Lookabaugh, McKay and Irban were brought here late in the afternoon and are now being prepared for burial.

Plain Dealer, Cleveland, OH 5 Sept 1904