Davis City, PA House Gas Explosion, Oct 1889

DEATH IN THE FLAMES.

LYMAN DAILEY OF DAVIS CITY DID NOT UNDERSTAND HOW TO REGULATE THE GAS CONNECTIONS AND HE CAUSES AN EXPLOSION -- HIS WIFE AND THREE CHILDREN ARE ROASTED TO DEATH -- A TERRIBLE CALAMITY.

On Thursday evening a horrible affair occurred near Davis City.
These are the victims:
LOUISA DAILEY, aged 36 years.
CHARLES DAILEY, aged 14.
ALEXANDER DAILEY, aged 11.
FREDDIE DAILEY, aged 7.
All burned to death.
LYMAN DAILEY was severely burned.
The family of LYMAN DAILEY, residing in a one-story cottage on an oil lease one-half of a mile west of the B. B. & K. railroad station, at the place named, were about to sit down to their evening meal when MRS. DAILEY noticed that a heavy gas pressure in the kitchen stove was producing too much heat. She requested her husband to go into the kitchen and turn off the gas. He complied with her request and while so doing he accidentally broke (in a manner unexplained) the gas connections of the stove.
In an instant a great volume of gas rushed from the broken pipe.
An explosion followed which threw DAILEY out through an open door. The whole structure was enveloped in a fierce blaze immediately.
MRS. DAILEY, it is supposed, rushed toward the door of the pantry in her effort to escape, but her exit was cut off by the flames and her charred body was found where she fell. The boys' bodies were found at the places where the windows were located. The little fellows had made a desperate effort to escape, no doubt, but the cruel flames over mastered them and their young lives were soon destroyed by consuming heat.
The calamity occurred about half past 6 o'clock in the evening, and as soon as the neighbors heard of it they assembled in a great crowd about the place, but were powerless to render aid. The building was burned to the ground in less than an hour, and the odor of the burning bodies and the shrieks of despair from the husband and father who had lost his all were awful accompaniments of the soul-harrowing scene.
As the night wore on the burning embers became a blackened mass and the stricken spectators returned to their homes, though not to sleep.
MR. DAILEY, half-crazed and badly burned, was taken to Lewis Run to the home of his son, Darwin Dailey, who lives at that place. When he arrived there he was found to be in a sorry plight. Willing hands were soon at work to render him assistance. They bandaged his burned and bruised face and hands, but their ministrations availed but little in relieving his mental condition. All night and all day his lamentations have been kept up constantly. "What have I done that such a thing should happen to me," is a heart touching exclamation which he often repeats.
The bodies of the victims were allowed to lay in the ashes of the destroyed building until noon on Friday, when they were taken in charge by Justice of the Peace O'Connor and removed to Lewis Run.
The body of MRS. DAILEY was terribly disfigured. One leg was burned off, as was the foot of the other limb. The hands were destroyed, and the poor woman's skull fractured, probably by falling timbers.
The body was burned to a crisp.
The bodies of the children were found where they were stricken down -- at the windows.
The remains of CHARLES, the eldest of the children, who was aged 13, and ALEXANDER, aged 11 years, were burned so badly as to be unrecognizable. The arms and legs were destroyed. Of the youngest lad, FREDDIE, aged but seven, nothing was left save the bones.
The remains of the four victims will be interred at DeGolier Cemetery today.
MRS. DAILEY was aged about 36 years. She was the third wife of LYMAN DAILEY and was formerly a resident of Jamestown, Pa. Her maiden name was Mitchell. She was the mother of the three little boys who shared her awful fate, Darwin Dailey of Lewis Run, being her step-son. She was a most devoted wife and mother who was held in high esteem by all who knew her.
MR. DAILEY and his family have resided for some time at Lewis Run, but about two months ago they moved to Davis Switch and took possession of the house, which proved to be an ill-fated one.
LYMAN DAILEY is nearly 50 years of age. He was employed as a laborer or roustabout by the Tidewater Pipe Line Company and was an industrious man. The family were in moderate circumstances.
A strange fatality seems to have followed DAILEY'S wives. His first help-mate died of illness; his second was cremated in a prairie fire in the west and the fate of the third is told in this article.
Gas was put in the house only a few days ago. The line from which it came is connected with eight wells, and the pressure was very strong.
The real cause of the explosion will not be known until the half-crazed man has recovered from his present mental excitement and can tell a coherent story of the calamity.
A sensational rumor has been circulated in connection with the affair which is to the effect that foul play has been done in connection with the horrible affair. While it might be a good idea for the coroner to investigate the case, yet it generally believed that those wild reports are entirely without foundation.

Bradford Era Pennsylvania 1889-10-12