Stockton, CA Steamer T. C. WALKER Explosion, Nov 1898
WATSON HENRY, the chief engineer, and his wife were in their room near the pilothouse when the explosion occurred. MRS. HENRY was blown a distance of twenty feet to the bow of the boat. She was crushed and so badly scalded by escaping steam that she died this afternoon. MR. HENRY was badly scalded and was thrown some distance. He died shortly after being brought to the city. MR. BLUNT was instantly killed. He was standing on the lower deck, as he intended making a landing a short distance above the place where the explosion occurred. JERRY DAILEY, the fireman, was in the fire hold of the boat when the accident occurred. The escaping steam completely enveloped him, scarcely a portion of his body escaping the scorching vapor. He died at the receiving hospital this afternoon.
Underneath the lower deck, where the deckhands slept, the groans and screams were terrible, for the imprisoned men were receiving the full force of the steam as it came from the boilers. Eight of them were almost roasted alive. Those who were able made their way to the deck as best they could, while the more seriously injured were unable to get out. Arms and faces of those near the main entrance were frightfully scalded. DOMINICK, who was on the lower deck, was blown into the water and had to swim ashore.
About an hour after the explosion the passenger steamer Dauntless, coming from San Francisco, hove in sight. She rendered immediate assistance, and all the wounded and uninjured were taken aboard. A telephone message was sent to this city, and the steamer Clara Crow, with several physicians, was sent to aid the Dauntless. The relief boat met the Dauntless a short distance down the river, and the physicians were quickly taken on board.
One of the remarkable escapes is that of Capt. HENRY POLVENE, who was at the wheel when the explosion occurred. The pilot house was torn away, but he was not dangerously injured, though somewhat scalded about the lower limbs.
What caused the explosion will probably never be known. The steam drum burst with terrible violence. It had split completely across the upper portion, and the whole sheet turned outward.
The four walls of the engine room were demolished by the force of the explosion. The lower deck, the hurricane deck, and texas deck were wrecked in the portion directly over the engine room. The direction of the flying debris was upward and outward toward the bow. If it had been the other way, the loss of life would have been much greater. The property loss will not exceed $2,000.
The New York Times New York 1898-11-28