Skip to Content

Montreal, QB Oil Tanker Explosion, June 1932

21 KILLED, 63 HURT IN TANKER BLOW-UP AT MONTREAL DOCKS.

SERIES OF EXPLOSIONS ON BRITISH BOAT IN DRYDOCK CAUSES $1,000,000 DAMAGE -- FIRE CHIEF AND OTHERS LOST IN FLAMES.

CREW ASLEEP ON VESSEL WHEN FIRST EXPLOSION OCCURS -- FLYING TIMBERS KILL SEVERAL IN SUCCEEDING DETONATIONS.

Montreal, June 17. -- (UP) -- A series of explosions on the British Oil tanker Cymbeline today killed upwards of 21 men and caused property damage of more than a million dollars.
For several hours after the explosions fires burned hot at the Canadian Vickers dock, where the Cymbeline had been tied up for repairs. Rescue attempts seemed futile and at mid-morning the casualties were announced as:
Known dead 21.
Injured 63.
The second explosion brought death to Fireman PAUL HENRICHON. Working on the side of the ship, he was flung against the railing and burned to death before the eyes of his comrades, unable to reach him. At the same time, Lieut. ROBERT and Captain ROULEAU, two other members of the brigade were badly burned.
When flames swept the superstructure of the vessel, firemen swarmed aboard to get at the source of the blaze. Many were trapped. Firemen ALBERT BRENNAN came off the ship with both arms and several ribs broken. Fireman MOISE DUFOUR suffered a broken leg, and was badly burned.
The fire burned so fiercely five hours later that it was impossible to search for Fire Chief GAUTHIER and for bodies of the Vickers' workmen believed lying dead around the staging and shoring at the bottom of the dock.
Not until the fire is extinguished will it be possible to empty the pontoons and raise the dock to permit search to go on.
JOHN EWEN, one of the twelve victims taken to the Montreal Hospital, died later this morning. Others severely burned were expected to add to the list of dead and missing in the wrecked dock.
The explosions occurred before dawn while the Cymbeline lay at the dock, most of its crew of 30 asleep aboard. On the pier were dozens of workers for the Canadian Vickers Company.
Suddenly there was a deep roar from the center fuel tank of the tanker. The concussion was felt up and down the waterfront. Fire spat up through the craft. Two other explosions followed rapidly.

Continued on Page 2.



article | by Dr. Radut