Reading, PA Silk Mill Collapse, Jan 1899
SCORES OF LIVES LOST.
FURTHER REPORTS FROM THE READING DISASTER.
Rescuing Parties Still Searching the Ruins for Bodies of the Victims Killed in the Fall of the Silk Mill--The Number of the Killed Will Probably Reach Thirty-five or Forty--Story of an Eye Witness
READING, Pa., Jan. 10--All night long brave and willing hands assisted in the work of rescue of the dead from the wreck of the silk mill. The list of fatal cases will reach fully forty, and maybe more. The hospitals and undertakers' establishments are filled with victims. The physicians are all busy and many private houses have been opened for the accommodation of the injured.
The work of rescue was greatly retarded from the singular manner in which the silk mill collapsed. It did not fall, but was bodily crushed down, falling in upon itself in one mass. Not a vestige of the wall remains standing above the stone foundation. The rafters and timbers of the flooring projected in all directions. As the building was steam-heated the ruins did not take fire. Otherwise not one of the unfortunates could possibly have escaped death in the most appalling form.
Teams of every description, funeral coaches, fire wagons, hospital vans, and private vehicles were pressed into service and were running rapidly to and from the scene of the disaster all night long, bearing the bodies of the wounded, dying, and dead to their homes or different hospitals.
STORY OF AN EYE WITNESS.
The only eye-witness to the disaster as far as is known was Mrs. Gemmill, residing on Mulberry street. Her account of it is as follows: "At about twenty minutes of 6 o'clock I heard an awful crash and thinking it was the new house which is being put up alongside of us I ran to the front door. A great cloud of dust hung over the silk mill, and I could hear the crashing of timbers and the roar of the falling walls. The next moment I saw the mill in a great heap of ruins, from the midst of which came such awful meaning and groaning and terrible cries as I never want to hear again. Not a soul did I see come out of the mill, and it seemed many minutes to me before anybody came to the spot. I stood there in the door like one struck dumb until my husband came running from his work."
The following list of casualties is corrected up to this extent. Burned to death in the P. & R. paint shop:
ALLEN LANDENBERGER, head, legs, and arms missing.
JOHN H. KALER, carpenter, head crushed
SHERIDAN JONES, burned to death
GEORGE A SCHAFFER, legs burned off.
GEORGE KNABB, No. 353 Moss street, badly injured
ARTHUR DEWALD, arm broken
SAMUEL NEWKIRK, internal injuries
The list of casualities at the silk mill is as follows:
THE SILK-MILL VICTIMS KILLED.
D. K. BECKER