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Columbia River, OR Torpedo Boat DAVIS Explosion, Oct 1898

DISASTER ON THE TORPEDO BOAT DAVIS.

SEVEN MEN MEET A HORRIBLE DEATH.

TUBES OF A BOILER EXPLODE WHILE UNDERGOING FINAL TRIAL TRIP.

VICTIMS ENGULFED IN FLAMES, STEAM AND BOILING WATER -- SEVERAL OTHERS INJURED, BUT NOT SERIOUSLY.

Special Dispatch to The Call.
Astoria, Or., Oct. 20. -- At 11:30 this morning, twenty-five miles above this city, on the Columbia River, an accident happened on the torpedo boat Davis, at the time in charge of the Government official trial board, undergoing her final trial trip. The boat was streaming along at fully twenty-eight miles an hour, when some of the tubes in the after end of the forward boiler suddenly exploded. The escaping steam and water blew open the furnace doors, and instantly filled the fire room with flames, steam and boiling water. Seven men in the room at the time were so seriously scalded that all subsequently died.
As quickly as possible the boat was stopped, the hatch opened and the men lifted upon the upper deck. Within a few minutes two of them, in spite of the care of a surgeon on board, died. The boat was taken in tow by a river tug, which happened to be in the vicinity, and brought to this city. On reaching the dock here the third man died, and the others were at once removed to the hospital, where they expired late tonight.
The names of the dead are:
CHARLES O'NEILL, fireman.
PAUL LUITHLE, coal passer.
HARRY WOODS, fireman.
W. WOODS, superintendent of the boiler-room.
J. RYAN, fireman.
A. JOHNSON, fireman.
A. BUEHLE, fireman.
All were residents of Portland.
Other members of the crew were also injured, but none seriously.
The Davis was built by the firm of Wolff & Zwicker, Portland, and on several preliminary trips has worked satisfactory. She left Portland this morning on her last official trial, and would in all probability have been accepted by the Government on reaching this city.
The theory advanced by some of the crew for the explosion is that the automatic water-gauge failed to work properly, and the water ran down too low in the boiler.
The Davis left for the shipyard in Portland tonight in tow of a tug, and aside from the damage in her fire-room is in perfect condition.

San Francisco Call California 1898-10-21



article | by Dr. Radut