San Francisco, CA Building Explosion, Apr 1866


San Francisco, Monday, April 16.

A terrible explosion of what was supposed to be nitra glicerine, occurred at a 1:15 o'clock to-day, near WELLS, FARGO & Co.'s building. The explosion shook the earth like an earthquake for a circle of a quarter of a mile.
SAMUEL KNIGHT, Superintendent of Wells, Fargo & Co.'s Express, died in half an hour of injuries received. G. W. BELL, Supervisor and Assayer, was instantly killed. MR. WALLUT, Wells, Fargo & Co.'s Assayer; JOSEPH ELLIOTT; JOHN GALLAGHER; FRANK WEBSTER and WILLIAM JUSTIN were also killed.
Eight dead bodies were so mutilated that they could not be identified. LOUIS McLANE, Capt. ELDRIDGE, of the Pacific Mail Steamship Company, and Judge HOFFMAN, were bruised and cut. FELIX LAMAX, D. STACY, JEFFERSON TAYLOR, H. BLANE, clothing dealer, Capt. J. AYRES, FRED LEIZ, FRANK MORAN and others, were injured, but not fatally. Some will never be identified, as fragments of human flesh, bones and brains were found nearly two blocks distant.
Montgomery, Sacramento and California streets were lined with broken glass, scarcely a window for several hundred feet remaining whole. Wells, Fargo & Co.'s horses, and everything in the vicinity, animate or inanimate, were blown into fragments.
The damage is estimated at least $200,000. WILLIAM HEVENS, a book-keeper of the Pacific Mail Steamship Compady[sic], is ascertained to be among the killed. The cause of the explosion is a mystery; the freight agent of the Pacific Mail Company says that two boxes, each measuring about four cubic feet, were taken from the steamer's dock to the place where the explosion occurred. One box was consigned to Idaho City and the others to Los Angeles. Both were stained with oil. The contents are not known. Forty men are now engaged in removing the ruins.

The New York Times New York 1866-04-17