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Saturday, September 20, 2014

1901 :: Fearful Boiler Explosion

Fearful Boiler Explosion. One Man Killed and Several Injured at Rockdale - Waterworks Entire Wrecked. Special to The News

Rockdale, Tex., Sept. 19. -- At 10:40 o'clock this morning one of the immense twin boilers of the Rockdale water and electric light plant exploded with a terrific crash. The concussion was so great that the jar was felt for a mile away. The entire plant is a total wreck. Nothing remains but a tangled mass of torn and twisted machinery, lumber and other building material.

There were six men in and around the building. All of them escaped with their lives except Snort Wilson, the fireman, who was in the front of the boiler, firing. He was blown across an eighty-foot street and hurled against a strong board fence with such force that a section of the fence was carried away. He was so badly scalded and bruised that he was almost unrecognizable and died in a few minutes.

R.H. Ames, superintendent and general manager; George De Board, William Jones and Charles Fithur, employes, and Will Pleasants, a bystander, were all more or less injured, as was also a child of Otto Lingert, playing in a yard near by.

Sections of the boiler and other portions of the machinery were blown into the air and landed with terrible force for 200 yards around. This explosion, coming in the midst of a long-continued drouth, makes the water problem a serious questions in this city. The water in the standpipe is shut off for fire purposes, so that the citizens are left without water.

A similar explosion occurred in the same plant on the same ground Oct. 9, 1897, in which Anton Strelsky lost his life. The loss to the company is estimated at 6,000 to $10,000. Dallas Morning News, September 20, 1901

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