Allegheny City, PA Steam Boiler Explosion, Mar 1849


At 11 o'clock A.M., of the 26th inst., the steam boilers in Fife & Bro.'s batting factory, Allegheny City, exploded, raising the roof entirely off the building, the boilers were thrown a distance of fully forty feet. Five bodies have already been dug from the ruins, and besides these there are several badly injured. J. FIFE, one of the proprietors, was killed.
It is supposed these there are other bodies among the ruins.
Five dwellings near the Factory were destroyed by the explosion, and four persons were badly injured by the falling of a chimney.


The cotton batting factory, belonging to the Messrs. Fife, of Allegheny City, was destroyed yesterday, by the explosion of the steam boiler. The accident occurred about 11 o'clock in the morning. It is said there were eighteen persons in the building at the time of the catastrophe, and it is supposed eight or ten were killed and wounded. The bursting of the boiler undermined the furnace stack, and with it came down the walls of the whole building, crushing beneath it those who were inside.
Among the crushed and mangled bodies recovered, are MISS ELIZABETH STAHLEY; MR. FIFE, one of the proprietors; MISS FIFE, daughter of the deceased; and another, whose name has not yet been ascertained. MR. BELL, one of the firm was killed, but his body had not been discovered when we left.
MISS GRAHAM, MISS REED, and others were badly, though not dangerously, scalded. They were taken to the house of Mr. H. Campbell, contiguous to the scene of destruction, and their wounds promptly dressed. Doctors Dale, Reed, Murray, and others, were promptly sent for, and rendered efficient services to the distressed persons.
The factory was totally consumed by fire after the explosion took place. Several private dwellings adjoining the factory were also burnt. The calamity has spread a gloom upon the countenances of the citizens of our sister city. It has not been ascertained how the accident happened -- whether from neglect on the part of the engineer, or from a defect in the boiler.
While we were at the fire, one of the chimney stacks of the burnt dwellings fell, and covered four men, who were assisting to check the flames. They were seriously injured, but we have not learned of the death of any of them. One of the sufferers, whose bowels were protruding from the abdomen, was carried away on a litter.
The body of MR. BELL was discovered about 3 o'clock P.M., completely crushed and severely burned.
Pitts. Jour.

Zanesville Courier Ohio 1849-03-29