united states mine rescue association Mine Disasters in the United States
Whitney Marble Company Gouverneur Marble Mine Boiler Explosion
Gouverneur, New York
May 3, 1884
No. Killed – 6
Six Men Killed and Others Injured Near Gouverneur, N. Y.
The New York Times
May 4, 1884
GOUVERNEUR, N. Y., May 3. -- At 11:30 o'clock this morning a terrible explosion occurred in the boiler room of the Whitney Marble Company's works about a mile from this village.
The boiler room is in the saw-mill, and it contained two boilers of fifty-horse power each. The boilers had been out of repair since Wednesday, and Oliver Dashneau and Joseph Olive, of Watertown, had been sent on to fix them. Their work was nearly completed, and when steam was made this morning the gauges marked 90 pounds on one and 15 pounds on the other.
Dashneau and Olive were on top of the boiler with the lowest pressure when it exploded with a tremendous report. Both men were fearfully mangled. The trunk of Dashneau's body was discovered hanging over a beam in the debris. His arms and limbs were scattered about the building, but his head has not yet been found.
Olive's head was torn off at the upper jaw. Both bodies were entirely stripped of clothing. Frank Newcomb, W. T. Miller, and Eli Jackson, of Gouveneur, workmen in the mill, were instantly killed. Charles Murray, of Rutland, Vt., a workman, was fatally injured, and died at 5 o'clock. Morris O'Harran, another workman, was standing near a window when the shock came. He was forced through the sash and carried 35 feet into an open lot. He is seriously injured, but will recover.
The mill was a wooden structure, 60 by 80 feet, and was built in September, 1883. It is now a total wreck, and so great was the force of the explosion that debris was carried a great distance. A piece of the boiler was thrown 100 feet from the mill. The shock shook the ornaments from the mantels in several houses in the village. The boilers were furnished new last September by the Watertown steam engine company, and were supposed to be first class.
The cause of the explosion is unknown, but it is supposed that one of the workmen opened a valve leading from the boiler with a full head of steam to the boiler having but 15 pounds of steam on, and the expansion at the top was so much greater than that at the bottom, which contained water, that the boiler was forced to give way.
A Coroner's jury was at once impaneled and an investigation was begun, but was adjourned until Monday. The damage to the works is estimated at $25,000. The building will probably be rebuilt at once.