Nyack, NY Dye Plant Explosion, Jan 1919


3 Others Missing and 15 Hurt by Blast in American Aniline Products Company's Factory.


School Building and Other Structures Damaged - Countryside Shaken for Miles Around.

Special to the New York Times.

NYACK, Jan. 31. - One person is dead, three are missing, and fifteen were injured as the result of an explosion which wrecked and set fire to the big plant of the American Aniline Products Company here today. About 100 persons were in the factory at the time. The property loss is estimated at $200,000.

Falling embers scattered over the neighborhood by two terrific blasts set fire to four other structures and for a while threatened to make a general conflagration in the village. Quick work of the firemen, however, confined the disaster to the aniline plant.

The dead man is H. A. Nakamura, a chemical mixer, and the missing are Erastus Van Houten, Louis Yakshima, and an unidentified Japanese.

Coroner A. K. Doig, M. D. who is making an inquiry into the disaster, learned that shortly after 9 o'clock in the morning a frightful explosion occurred in the drying room on the first floor. It is thought the chemicals there became overheated and blew up. Parts of the ground floor walls shot outward. At the same time the blast tore a hole through the upper floors and the roof. A shower of embers and debris went skyward and sprinkled over the neighborhood, setting fire to the abandoned Depew shoddy mill, Dr. E. H. Maynard's home, and Dr. J. W. Gile's garage nearby.

The whole countryside was rocked for miles around by the concussion and windows and plateglass for some distance were broken.

The employes became panic-stricken and fled from the building as broken glass and other wreckage flew all around them. The three missing men are thought to have been in the drying room. Nakamura escaped from the drying room, but had to be dragged out by a companion, as both his legs and one arm were broken. He died shortly after he reached Nyack Hospital.

Hardly a hundred feet away from the aniline plant is the Nyack High and Grammar School. All the windows on the side of the schoolhouse facing the factory were smashed to atoms. The school fire drill alarm was sounded, and in three minutes the 400 pupils had left the building. One of the pupils was hurt by flying glass. The school will be closed for two weeks for repairs.

The injured were rushed to Nyack Hospital by the Women's Motor Corps, under Sergeant Natalie Couch.

The New York Times, New York, NY 1 Feb 1919