New York City, NY Ferryboat WESTFIELD Explosion, July 1871

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We give below the opinion of an old engineer of thirty years experience. He has thoroughly examined the exploded boiler. He finds the iron to be in very good condition, free from scale, and capable of sustaining double the amount of pressure stated by the engineer at the time of the explosion. He would ask, "Was the engineer hurt?
Were any of the firemen killed or wounded?" The engineer says he was in the boiler room a few minutes before the explosion, tried the water, and found three cocks. He also says he asked the fireman how the water was. He replied, "All right." Our informant contends that no living being could have been in the fire room at the time of the explosion without being torn to shreds with the enormous pressure required to rend a boiler as this one is torn. His candid opinion is that there was but little water in the boiler, and that when the pump was put on, the natural consequence was a tremendous pressure of gas generated far beyond the strength of the metal. If he had the three cocks of water, and had more steam than was necessary, where was his safety valve to carry off the excess? Report says the valve did not work.
If so, he was doubly culpable in not removing the difficulty.
GEORGE ELSAESSER, his wife and four children, three boys aged respectively 16 years, 12 years, 9 years, and a little girl aged 5 years, occupy apartments in a tenement house at 74 First Avenue. They all atarted for Staten Island Sunday, and were unfortunate in catching the fatal boat. But one out of this whole family escaped uninjured; that is the second eldest boy. The eldest boy was killed and is now at the Morgue, the youngest boy is lost, and as no tidings have been received is no doubt drowned; the little girl, whom the neighbors all speak of in the highest terms, is placed beside her brother, while the father and mother are both in the hospital scalded in a frightful manner.
Close by lay another coffin containing the body of a little girl, one of the ELSASSER family. The lid was removed in order that her grandfather and her little brother might identify her before removing her. The head of the corpse was so terribly scalded that the least touch would have caused the whole scalp to drop off. On Sunday the whole family, consisting of the mother and five children started for Staten Island. In the explosion four of the children were killed outright and the morther was blown into the water. The only child left alive, a little boy twelve years old.

Barnstable Patriot Massachusetts 1871-08-08

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