Hollidaysburg, PA Rolling Mill Boiler Explosion, Jan 1896

AN EXPLOSION.

ROLLING MILL BOILER AT HOLLIDAYSBURG LETS GO.

THREE MEN KILLED, FOUR FATALLY AND TWENTY OTHERS SERIOUSLY HURT.

CAUSE OF THE ACCIDENT A MYSTERY -- THE BOILER HAD BUT RECENTLY BEEN REPAIRED AND TESTED -- A PORTION OF THE ROLLING MILL COMPLETELY WRECKED.

Hollidaysburg, Pa., Jan. 31. -- The most disastrous affair that has happened in this section for years occurred here Thursday morning when a boiler exploded in a large rolling mill of the Hollidaysburg Iron and Nail Co. Three persons were killed, four may die and twenty others are more or less injured.
When the accident occurred about a hundred men were at work at the mills. A 30-foot cylinder boiler exploded without any warning, spreading death and ruin in its course. The report of the explosion was heard all over the town, and several blocks away houses were shaken and dishes were rattled on the breakfast tables.
In a short time a large crowd of people were collected. The cause of the explosion is a mystery. Engineer Kramer was standing by his engine at the time of the accident. He says the boiler had 100 pounds of steam on. He was not hurt. The boiler had been repaired and tested about sixty days ago. It is thought there was no water in the boiler. The boiler was placed over puddling furnaces and heated from their fires. When it exploded it blew open and went through the roof, tearing out the entire end of the mill, and was then hurled about 200 feet. It crushed through the mill roof, throwing the beams and iron in all directions, completely wrecking that part of the plant. As the steam escaped from the explosion the furnaces were demolished and stacks thrown down. A number of puddlers were buried in the ruins. The end of the boiler was found 500 yards from the mill. As soon as the steam and smoke cleared away the search for the victims beneath the ruins was begun. LANE, the bricklayer, was the first man found. He was discovered lying under the bricks and near an unexploded boiler, crushed to death. CORNELIUS EVANS was found lying near the shears with nearly the whole top of his head torn off. It is supposed he had gone to the shears just as the explosion occurred for material for stocking the furnace. MERRILL TREESE was found near a furnace with his skull fractured and burned in a horrible manner. SAMUEL KEPHART, SAMUEL MARKS, ROBERT MARKS, FINLEY FERGUSON and JOHN WOOMER were found in front of their furnaces covered with debris, where they had been struck down. The other injured ones were able to get out of the mill unaided.
Just before the explosion a tramp was seen cooking a piece of meat in front of one of the furnaces and it is supposed that he was killed and buried under the ruins, as he has not been seen since the accident. The loss to the company is about $5,000 partly covered by insurance.

Hollidaysburg, Pa., Jan. 31. -- ROBERT McMURRAY and SAMUEL M. MARKS, two victims of the Hollidaysburg iron and nail works' boiler explosion Thursday, died Friday morning.

Marietta Daily Leader Ohio 1896-02-01