Pittsburgh, PA Electricity Accident, Jan 1902


His Burning Body Hung From Spike On the Pole.

Philadelphia. Jan 20 – With smoke and flames issuing from his body, GEORGE CLARKE, a Bell Telephone lineman, hung suspended Saturday afternoon, from an iron spike near the top of a tall pole, while a crowd stood on the pavement watching his death agony. An electric current of 3,500 volts had passed through the doomed man.

CLARKE was making a telephone connection at the top of the pole at Wilton avenue and Jefferson street, West Philadelphia, when his elbow came in contact with the heavily charged wire. The explosion-like sound was heard several squares away, but death was not instantaneous.

CLARKE’S body writhed in agony for a moment, and then he fell from the top of the pole to a point about 12 feet below, where his belt caught in one of the iron spikes of the pole, and there he hung suspended, with smoke and flames issuing from his body. THOMAS ATTWOOD, another lineman, and J. F. FERNWOOD, a helper, got the body down with ropes, and when it reached the pavement there were still some signs of life.

A woman who was passing said she was a physician, and was asked to take the case in hand.

“He is just dead,” she said, as she concluded her examination. The body was removed to the morgue.

“I was standing outside my door, two blocks from the telephone pole, when the accident occurred,” sasid [sic] MR. WILSON. “I heard a report which I thought was an explosion. I saw the man hanging on the pole and helped to get him down. I can’t account for the sound of the explosion. It was a most peculiar sound and sent a chill through me.” THOMAS L. BOETTIGLER, a grocer, said: “The explosion, or whatever it was, startled everyone in the neighborhood. My mother-in-law, who was in my house, fainted with the fright.”

The News, Frederick, MD 20 Jan 1902

History of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania 1889 Read it online

Memoirs of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania : personal and genealogical, with portraits Read it online

History of Allegheny Co., Pennsylvania 1886 Read it online

Allegheny County : a sesqui-centennial review 1938 Read it online

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