Montreal, QB Oil Tanker Explosion, June 1932
Members of the crew, their clothing ripped from their bodies ran screaming to the first point of rescue they could find. Many of the dock workmen are believed to have leaped into the water.
"It was the worst experience I ever had," LEONARD
RUMBLE, engineer of the tanker, told the United Press. "The screams and howls were terrible. I can still hear them ringing in my ears. I'll never forget it till my dying day."
Firemen from all parts of Montreal fought the oil fed flames. As the debris swirled and smashed on the docks, they were caught. At least three -- including Fire Director RAOUL GAUTHIER -- were killed.
"I saw a Montreal fireman who was playing a hose on the burning ship struck in the back of the head by a large piece of timber," RUMBLER said. "He fell face down, the hose twisting and whirling on the ground like a big snake."
"We rushed to his aid but before we could reach him his clothing was afire. He was dead."
Signal flares aboard the vessel were ignited. They shot up in haphazard, an eerie display over the fire and ruin.
Many of the injured are in critical condition and may die. Members of the crew, those not needing hospital attention, were given make-shift attire and taken to the sailor's institute.
Meanwhile every fire station in Montreal had flags at half-staff because of GAUTHIER'S death.
Chester Times Pennsylvania 1932-06-17
SEEK 14 BODIES IN TANKER EXPLOSION.
Montreal, June 18 -- The blast-torn tanker Cymbeline was searched today for fourteen more bodies. Eleven already had been recovered, and of the more than three score men injured when explosions shattered the British vessel yesterday, thirty-seven were still in hospitals.
Several million dollars' damage was done, officials estimated, in the blasts and fire that inflicted one of Montreal's major disasters. A $5,000,000 Canadian Vickers drydock, in which the British vessel was undergoing repairs when it blew up, was partly wrecked.
Investigating the explosions, which spurted blazing oil 100 feet into the air, threw burning bodies into the harbor and sent employes and firemen staggering away with critical injuries, officials tended toward the theory that a hot rivet may have come in contact with gas accumulating over oil inside the vessel.
All Montreal mourned the death of Fire Chief RAOUL GAUTHIER. Fighting the flames which soared through the craft after the fire explosion, he was caught in a second. The chief's helmet was found on deck, but no trace of his body.
Chester Times Pennsylvania 1932-06-18