Queens, NY Pumping Station Boiler Explosion, Nov 1902


Pumping Station on Shore Road in Queens Destroyed.

Trees Broken Off--Windows Shattered Half a Mile Away--Steel Plates Had Been Worn Thin--Story of an Eye Witness.

Two men were killed and one of the pumping stations of the city's water supply system on the Shore Road in Queens Borough totally destroyed by an explosion yesterday morning. One of the two big boilers which furnished the power for the pumps blew up. Windows were shattered in buildings half a mile away. Fortunately there was no building, except some greenhouses, closer than 2,000 feet to the pumping station.

The men dead were:

DIHBY, WILLIAM, forty-five years of age, married, with five children who lived at 182 East Fourth Street, Long Island City, engineer of the plant; on duty at the time.

NELSON, JAMES, forty years of age, same address, wife and eight children, fireman; on duty at the time.

The explosion occurred at 8:31 o'clock yesterday morning. The plant was sheltered in a brick building 50 by 50 feet on the ground floor plan and having a maximum height of 30 feet. In it were the two boilers, each 6 feet in diameter and 18 feet long. The plant was run night and day; three shifts of an engineer and fireman operated it.

Thomas Carroll of Ditmar Avenue and James Larson were the crew that went on at midnight. During the night they had no trouble with either engines or boilers. Five minutes before 8 yesterday morning Dihby and Nelson appeared at the pumping station and at 8 relieved Carroll and Larson, who left the building as quickly as they could wash up.

When the explosion came the building was ripped to pieces. Bricks from it flew a distance of 1,000 feet or more, while the boiler which exploded a the time, was lifted from it foundations and driven 100 feet in the other direction.