Blue Island, IL Standard Cartridge Factory Explosion, Aug 1890
No one was about the packing room at the time of the accident, and those who were injured were working in the engineer's department. All the machinery in the factory was destroyed, and the windows of houses for blocks around the building were broken. The fatally injured were sent to Chicago on the Rock Island train to be conveyed to the county hospital. One of the injured is reported to have died on the way to the hospital.
CHARLES F. SEIDELL, 25 years old, single, was killed.
The injured are as follows:
E. B. BURKE, face, hands, arms, and body burned.
FRANK LAWS, face, chest, and limbs burned.
GEORGE WELLS, face and hands burned.
ALEC LAMOR, face burned.
IDA WICKS, leg badly burned.
MARY SEPHEN, chin and nose mangled.
ANNIE McELBACH, side burned and hair scorched.
EMMA SCHOUP, arms burned.
LENA SCHOUP, face and hands burned.
LENA ROLL, face and arms burned.
EUGENE REINBERGER, face burned.
WILL DORMAN, face and hands badly burned.
JOE BASSETT, face blistered.
C. BREMEISTER, face blistered.
MARK BARNEY, face blistered.
When help came to the unfortunates girls were found lying half naked in the mud and grass, and crying for some one to relieve their sufferings. Stripped of their clothing, they were blistered and blackened and swollen till their most intimate friends scarcely knew them. Of the twelve girls employed in the factory only three escaped without injury. The remaining nine were removed to a farm house half a mile away, where they were given medical attention, and afterwards supplied with clothing and removed to their homes. The ages of the girls raged from 14 to 19 years.
IDA WICK, aside from the terrible burns she received, was crushed under a piece of iron that fell of of a machine. She was engaged in packing and labeling cartridges not far from the machine that exploded. MARK BARNEY, who was one of the most terribly burned, was feeding blank shells into the tube of the machine that exploded. He was blown up in the air by the explosion and fell in the fire. There he lay, unable to extricate himself from the twisted rods, until the smoke had partially blown away and he was helped out by his brother. His face, arms and body were almost cooked in places, and every particle of clothing he had on save his shoes and stockings was burned off. ALEXANDER LAMOR, whose injuries will probably cause his death, was working at a machine just next to the one that was blown up. Almost every portion of his body was burned, and he was gashed about the abdomen. His wounds were burned and blackened by the powder.
The proprietors of the factory say the disaster was caused by the gross carelessness of one of the men in opening a can of powder with a hammer and chisel.
Evening Gazette Sterling Illinois 1890-08-22