Kings Station, OH Railroad Car Explosion, Jul 1890


A Shell Factory in Cincinnatti (sic) Blown to Atoms.

CINCINNATI, July 16.-The following is the list of killed in the explosion at King's mills Cincinnati:


The following are the injured.

LODIE PEHERH, aged 13, employed in shell factory, lost an arm; ERNEST COLLINS, skull crushed, will die; MRS. JNO. SCHNEIDER, scalp wound; FRED KELLER, night watchman, severely bruised about the body; JOHN MAAG, bruised about the face, will lose both eyes; MRS. BEN DOWEL, severely burned; MRS. ELSTINE, internal injuries, she will not live; OPERATOR HUNT, scalp wound; HARRY SMITH, FRANK HUNT, MISS ANNIE SCHNIEDER, MISS GILLAM, MISS MAGGIE HUTCHINSON and sister.

Mr. JOSEPH PROCTOR, a resident of Columbus arrived in the city on the delayed Pennsylvania train at midnight. He was an eye witness to the terrible affair and gave a very vivid account of the explosion.

I was visiting a friend near Kings mills and during the afternoon sauntered up the road to the cartridge factory. I inspected it thoroughly and chatted with some of the workmen for quite a while. When the freight train came along I started towards my friends house which overlooks the works. On reaching the top of the hill I turned around just as the freight train was making a running switch to the sidetrack. I saw the brakeman on the car as they shot on to the sidetrack and he was waving his hand to some one on the train. As I looked I saw two detached cars bump against what I supposed was an empty car on the sidetrack. An instant later there was a rumbling noise and then the very ground beneath me seemed to open. I saw a puff of smoke followed a second later by another and the cars disappeared. The station and powderhouse and dwelling seemed to fall in and the work of destruction had just commenced. All occurred quicker than I can relate, then came a dense volume of flame and smoke pouring out of the doors and windows of the cartride factory and I saw men, women and children tearing at each other in their frantic endeavors to escape. The explosion and fire at the cartridge house seemed to be simultaneous. The building did not catch on fire in the ordinary way, but the flame seemed to penetrate the doors and windows from all sides. A number of women came out, but some certainly perished in the flames. The dewlling house below the cartridge house was blown from its foundations and dashed to the ground. In this building a mother and child lost their lives.

I managed to make my way to the scene, and others who were in the neighborhood were also gathering. The scene was one of the awfullest I ever witnessed. The railroad tracks were twisted and torn like so much paper and telegraph poles and wires were burned like so much tinder. A carload of coal about sixty feet distant caught fire and burned up.

We got to work as soon as possible and got fully a dozen women and men from the powder house. There was no one but was injured or bruised. They seemed to be oblivious of the surroundings and I don't think they realized what had occured. Some were burned and others were cut and bruised by the force of the explosion.

To add to the terrible scene there was a constant snapping of cartridges and the rescuers were in danger of being killed at any time. I don't want another such experience as long as I live. I hope I may never again be an eye witness to such a catastrophe. I don't know how many were killed, but I am of the opinion that ten at least lost their lives. The number of wounded will be double that many."

Aberdeen Daily News, Aberdeen, SD 17 Jul 1890