Fontanet, IN DuPont Powder Co. Explosion, Oct 1907
30 ARE KILLED IN EXPLOSION
ENTIRE VILLAGE THROWN INTO STATE OF CONFUSION AND MANY ARE INJURED.
BODIES BURNED CRISP
SURVIVORS OF 800 INHABITANTS OF THE PLACE LEFT WITHOUT HOMES.
Brazil, Ind. --- From twenty-five to thirty persons dead and dying, 100 persons injured, and every house in Fontanet destroyed, rendering several hundred people homeless, is the result of an explosion of powder in the mills of the Du Pont Powder Company, near Fontanet, at 9:15 o'clock Tuesday.
The first explosion occurred in the glazing mill of the plant. Quickly following the other mills blew up, there being three distinct concussions at intervals of a few minutes.
In the mills at the time seventy-five to eighty men were at work. When the glazing mill went up, the men ran for their lives from the other mills and many thus escaped death, but received serious injuries. At the first explosion the inhabitants of the town ran from the buildings and thus saved themselves. No one was killed in the town, although there is not a building left standing.
Magazine Blows Up.
At 10:45, ninety minutes after the first explosion, the heat from the burning mills exploded the great powder magazine situated in a hollow several hundred yards from the mills. It contained many thousand kegs of powder and the concussion was even greater than those from the explosions of the mills.
Among those injured from the magazine explosion were several physicians who were at work among the dead and dying.
A freight train standing on the siding leading to the powder mills was partly destroyed by the concussion and took fire.
The heat from the burning mills and freight train was so great that it was impossible to remove many of the bodies from the wreckage. Eighteen mangled bodies were taken to the morgue to await identification. Injured were found scattered everywhere and were collected and ( ? ) given as rapidly as possible.
Not a House Standing.
Not a house is left standing in the town. Fronts, roofs, sides and even the foundations of many buildings have been blown to atoms. Great holes are torn in the ground, fences have vanished and house goods from the ruined homes are in confused heaps of debris in all directions.
The people of the town, who had rushed from their homes at the first explosion, were saved because of this. The shock from the exploding magazine wrecked the buildings in the town.
The first body taken from the wrecked mills was that of DR. CARROLL, an employe [sic]. It was burned almost to a crisp, but the man was still alive and begged for someone to shoot him and put him out of his misery. He lived but a few minutes.
Father and Son Die Together.
The bodies of two other employes, VES DIAL and his SON, were found near CARROLL. WILL DALTON was found unconscious, his body badly mangled. He cannot live. CHARLES WELLS, engineer on the freight train is badly injured. He is burned and his left leg is fractured.
A brick school building a quarter of a mile from the mills, was wrecked and many of the children within were injured, some seriously, but none fatally. A farmhouse three-quarters of a mile away was totally destroyed.
Fontanet is a mining town of 800 inhabitants, situated on the Big Four railroad, eighteen miles east of Terre Haute and twelve miles from here.
The explosion interrupted telephone communication with outside points. Assistance was asked for at once and physicians with bandages left both places in carriages and automobiles to render aid.
Superintendent MONAHAN of the mills is missing and is believed to have been blown to pieces and his body burned.
Basalt Journal Colorado 1907-10-19
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