New York, NY Explosion And Fire In Tunnel, Jan 1902

Explosion Results




A Lighted Candle Sets Fire to a Shanty Where a Quantity of Dynamite Rested -- Two Hotels Ruined, a Hospital Wrecked and Residences Damaged -- Property Loss Estimated at $1,000,000.

New York City -- Dynamite cartridges in a frail shanty on a platform over the west shaft of Section 4, of the subway tunnel in Park avenue, just south of Forty-first street, exploded through a fire which started among paper in the shanty just after noon on Monday with fatal, maiming and injuring results and wide destruction of property. Six persons were killed by the disaster and more than 125 were injured, few, however, of them having more serious hurts that cuts inflicted by glass or wreckage.
The list of the dead is as follows: CYRUS ADAMS, cigar man, at the Murray Hill Hotel; JAMES CARR, a waiter employed at the Murray Hill Hotel; LAWRENCE HINE, twenty years old, of Ansonia, Conn.; J. RODERICK ROBERTSON, of Nelson, British Columbia, a guest at the Murray Hill Hotel; JOHN H. THOMPSON, assistant engineer, and THOMAS TUBBS, master mechanic.
MOSES EPPS, one of those injured seriously and who is a prisoner in the Flower Hospital, made a statement which fixes the cause of the accident and places the responsibility for the presence in the shanty of more dynamite than the law permits more or less directly on the contractor for the work in Section 4, Major IRA A. SHALER, who was arrested shortly after the accident. EPPS stated that while the law permitted only sixty-two pounds of dynamite to be kept at one time in the shanty there were in it when he discovered that paper on the floor was on fire 583 pounds of the explosive.
The explosion practically wrecked the Murray Hill Hotel, killing a guest and two employes, ruined the facades of the Manhattan Eye and Ear Hospital and the Grand Union Hotel, and seriously damaged the Forty-second street front of the Grand Central Station.
Minor damage was done for blocks around, chiefly in the item of broken glass and plastering, and the effects of the explosion were experienced in this way over a large area in the neighborhood. The total of property loss is about $1,000,000. The damage to subway property was comparatively slight, and may be repaired within a week.
The explosion was spoken of by all who heard it and who saw its immediate results as the most violent in point of noise, force and widespread destruction that has occurred in the United States from any cause. Several had experiences in disasters of a similar nature and with fearful accidents from gas, high explosives and gunpowder.

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