Pittsburgh, PA Disastrous Gas Explosion, Nov 1927
TWENTY-EIGHT DIE IN NATVIA GAS BLAST.
DISASTROUS EXPLOSION IN NORTH SIDE OF PITTSBURGH.
ENTIRE SECTION OF CITY LAY IN RUINS LAST NIGHT -- TWENTY EIGHT VICTIMS LIE IN MORGUE MUTE EVIDENCE OF CALAMITY -- HUNDREDS IN HOSPITALS, AS POLICEMEN AND FIREMEN SEARCH RUINS -- STREETS HEAVED INTO AIR BREAKING WATER MAINS AND SEWERS WHICH FLOOD DISTRICT -- HUGE GAS TANK SHOT INTO AIR LIKE BALLOON -- BALL OF FIRE TRAVELED HIGHER THAN TIP OF MOUNT WASHINGTON.
Pittsburgh, Nov. 14. (AP) -- An entire section of north side Pittsburgh lay in ruins tonight and the bodies of twenty-eight persons rested in the Allegany[sic] County morgue, mute evidence of one of the most disastrous explosions in the city's history. Death and devestation swept the Old Manchester District when a mammoth storage gas tank exploded.
Tonight as hundreds of victims of the disaster nursed their injuries in hospitals and in other havens of refugees supplied by relief agencies, firemen, policemen and volunteers continued the work of exploring the wrecked district in the belief that other bodies would be found in the mass of debris.
Firemen resorted to dynamite in an effort to move masses of wreckage. Police kept constant watch to prevent looting.
The quiet of a November morning was shattered throughout the Pittsburgh district by the terrific blast. Buildings rocked and windows crashed. At first it seemed that an earthquake had gripped the city. Telephone lines were broken and the fire alarm system was crippled. The city stood still waiting and wondering what was to come next.
Then the fire alarm sounded.
With the first shock, firemen started the motors of their apparatus, and, as the gong sounded, they rushed forth. The city soon realized that there was a disaster at hand. Automobile trucks, taxicabs, ambulances and all available motor cars soon were rushing through the downtown district, bearing the injured to hospitals.
When firemen reached the scene they were halted by the appalling sight. Streets had been heaved into the air, breaking water mines and sewers, and flooding the entire district. Homes, factories, warehouses and industrial plants lay in ruins. Men, women and children, many with blood streaming from face cuts and other injuries, ran screaming through the streets as if mad.
The cause of the disaster was soon apparent, for, in the midst of the ruins lay a twisted mass of steel, some of the supports of the giant gas tank, said to be the largest natural gas reservoir in the world. Thirteen men went to work repairing the tank at 8 A. M. Forty-three minutes later, as the workers handled their blow torches on the steel frame work, the shock came. Eye witnesses said that the tank with a capacity of some five million cubic feet, shot into the air like a balloon. A ball of fire traveled higher than the tip of Mount Washington, across the Ohio River from the scene. Sections of the steel frame work went up hundreds of feet, to crash in the descent through the roofs of houses and buildings and in the streets.
Within a brief period of time, all north side hospitals were jammed to capacity. Nearly every doctor in the city, as well as nurses, responded to the call for help. Some of the injured were treated on hospital steps for the corridors and every available inch of space within was occupied.
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