Emporium, PA Aetna Powder Co Explosion, Jul 1916

NINE KILLED IN EXPLOSION AT EMPORIUM

Aetna Powder Plant Blown Up For Third Time In The Last Six Months

IDENTIFICATION IS IMPOSSIBLE

Nine men were killed and four men were fatally injured as the result of an explosion that destroyed the drying department of the Aetna Explosive company's work at Emporium on Saturday afternoon. Eight of the men were killed instantly, while one other died at the station while awaiting the start of the special relief train for Williamsport, where the injured were rushed.

The known dead: OTTO TONER, MAX LEWIS, JAMES JOHNSON, ORION JAMES.

Several of the men were so badly mutilated that identification is impossible. There were 13 men in the building at the time the explosion occurred. All of them wear brass tags as identification marks, but some of the bodies were so badly blown apart that the checks cannot be found.

The four living men were rushed to the Williamsport hospital, where their condition was reported as very serious last evening. Some of the injured were entirely stripped of their clothing by the force of the explosion one man coming out with nothing on but a belt and a pair of shoes. It was stated that there were 40,000 pounds of powder in the building at the time it let loose. The grass was burned black to a distance of over 200 yards by the flash of flames.

The cause of the explosion is a mystery, and this is the third such mysterious mishap that has occurred at the Emporium plant in six months.

Up to one week ago the Aetna company was filling a $50,000 war order for the allies, but at the time the United States took over the contract.

The four walls of the two-story building were blown to bits. After the fire was extinguished the bodies of the eight men were found under the ruins.

Clearfield Progress, Clearfield, PA 3 Jul 1916

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