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Henry Clay Colliery Boiler Explosions

Shamokin, Pennsylvania
October 11, 1894
No. Killed - 6



See also:   Henry Clay Colliery Explosion, June 10, 1873
Henry Clay Colliery Explosion, Dec. 8, 1884

From the Google News Archives:  External Link
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Fatal Boiler Explosion at the Henry Clay Colliery
The Sandusky Register, Ohio
October 12, 1894

Shamokin, Pa., Oct. 11. -- Four men were killed, two were fatally injured, and several others were painfully burned by a disastrous boiler explosion that occurred at the Henry Clay colliery early today.

The entire steam supplying plant of the mine, consisting of thirty-six boilers, was totally demolished, and in addition to the monetary loss, which will aggregate $30,000, the Henry Clay, Big Mountain, Sterling and Peerless collieries will be unable to resume operations for at least a month.

The explosion is the worst of its kind that has ever occurred in this region, and its cause is a mystery.

The dead and injured are:
  • Thomas Carr, fireman; leaves widow and three children; one arm and leg blown off, and body cut in two.
  • William Boyle, fireman; leaves widow; horribly crushed and lacerated about the body; dead when removed.
  • William E. Slick, aged 18 years; neck broken and both hips fractured; died few minutes after being found.
  • Peter Heck, fireman; side of head crushed and severe internal injuries; cannot recover.
  • Jacob J. Didiam, water boss of Mahoney Valley, married; scalded and crushed about the waist and legs; cannot recover.
  • John McMaughlin, fireman, both legs broken and head crushed; died two hours after the accident.
The Injured:
  • John Flenenstein, married; received very serious injuries about body; may recover.
  • Dennis Brennan, scraper boy; struck in the face with a brick; is not dangerous.
  • William Quinn, lamp man, of Springfield; cut on head by flying bricks.
  • Michael Harris, switch boy, Springfield; injured by flying bricks.
It was about 7:35 this morning when the workmen at the Henry Clay colliery were startled by a heavy explosion.  At the same moment a portion of the boiler house was blown into the air and flying brick, sheets of corrugated iron and the big boilers were hurled in every direction.  Several other explosions took place.  The air was filled with escaping steam and debris for a radius of 400 yards, and many of the employees narrowly escaped.

The report of the explosion was heard in this city, a distance of more than two miles.  The terrible accident came upon the boiler house employees without warning, and only one of them, a Pole, escaped uninjured.  The others were buried between the mass of debris and some of the bodies were not recovered for two hours.  The boiler on the west end of the house is supposed to have been the first to explode, and then the adjoining boilers went up in quick succession, the repeated explosions resembling the roar of heavy artillery.

Only nine of the thirty-six boilers escaped destruction, and even these were so badly damaged that they are useless.  Many of the boilers were torn apart near the center by the terrible force, and the two sections would then take different directions.  One-half of a boiler was hurled a full quarter of a mile and lodged in the slush bank northwest of where the boiler house formerly stood.  Another that took a similar direction crashed through the side of the breaker and lodged against the scraper line.  Another crashed through the tip house and came near killing several employees.

Four collieries will be thrown into idleness by the accident for a month or six weeks, so that the total loss will aggregate $100,000.



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