Fort Lafayette, NY Shell Explosion, Feb 1903
THREE BLOWN TO PIECES IN FORT EXPLOSION.
ANOTHER DEAD AND THREE MORE MAY DIE.
EIGHT-INCH SHELL BURST.
DISASTER IN ONE OF THE FILLING ROOMS AT FORT LAFAYETTE OFF FORT HAMILTON -- SCENE IN HOSPITAL WHEN THE WOUNDED WERE PHOTOGRAPHED.
Three men were instantly killed, a fourth fatally mangled, three more injured probably fatally, and two others hurt in an explosion of an eight-inch shell at 2:20 o'clock yesterday afternoon in one ofthe filling fooms in Fort Lafayette, the old fort just below Fort Hamilton, which is used by the ordnance department of the navy for loading and unloading shells used on battleships and cruisers.
The explosion made a great rambling sound and shook the entire fort and was heard more than a mile away. The echoes had hardly died away before the soldiers in Fort Hamilton surmised what the matter was. They all knew that old Fort Lafayette was used by the navy for the storage of the most powerful explosives known to modern ordnance. Not only the soldiers, but the people generally in the Fort Hamilton section as soon as they heard the tremendous report hurried to the water front, where they saw smoke coming out of the roof of the old fort.
By this time the news from within the fort had been telephoned to the regimental headquarters at Fort Hamilton, where it was immediately telephoned to Rear Admiral Barker at the Navy Yard, who at once ordered Capts. Adams and Briggs and Surgeon Plummer to board a tug and hasten to the fort to see exactly what had happened, as well as to do all within their power to alleviate the sufferings of the men who had not been killed outright in the filling room.
When the naval officers reached the filling room at the fort they found remnants of bodies of the victims scattered here and there. Three of the men had been literally blown to pieces. Those that were still living were being cared for as much as possible by the army surgeons from Fort Hamilton and the men who were at work at other parts of Fort Lafayette.
Capt. Creamer of the Fort Hamilton Police Station was also there by that time, and was a witness of the heartrending sight in the filling room. "It simply cannot be described," said Capt. Creamer.
"It was so terrible."
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