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Home: Regional: U.S. States: Pennsylvania: Montour County

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Boiler Explosion - Thomas Lore, Mr. Crawford, Pierce Taylor
Posted by: Sherrie Smith (ID *****1458) Date: October 22, 2009 at 10:04:51
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Clarion Jacksonian, February 4, 1897 reads:
Terrible Explosion - Boiler Blows up near Strattanville Yesterday at Noon. Strattanville, Pa., Feb. 3, 1897 - Special to the Jacksonian by J.P.J. - Shortly after noon today the people of this town and vicinity were startled by a terrible report as of distant thunder. The houses were shaken and the occupants rushed to the streets to determine the cause. Soon a messenger appeared from Alex Billinger's sawmill situated on the Smathers farm one-half mile south of town, with the news that the 35 horse power boiler at the mill had exploded and killed one man and injured several others. Mr. Pierce Taylor, the sawyer, was instantly killed. Thos. Lore sustained several cuts about the head and face and had the breast-bone and several ribs fractured, besides being injured internally. It is thought he cannot recover. Mr. Crawford, the manager, badly cut about the head and sprained ankle. Thos. Williams and Curt Stewart were badly scalded and cut and Joseph Sowers also received slight injuries. It is a miracle that those injured were not instantly killed as they were all within a few feet of the boiler at the time it exploded. Squire J.D. Smith was called and inquest was held over the body of Mr. Taylor after which the body with the injured were all removed to the house of B.B. Ferguson, where they have been boarding. Drs. Dillenbeck and Rimer were called to care for the injured and all is being done to relieve the sufferers that can be done. Messrs. Taylor, Crawford, and Lore came here from Montour county, Pa. and while with us have become acquainted. They have the sincere sympathy of the people of the community, in their trouble. The mill is a complete wreck as there is scarcely a piece of machinery that is not broken or bent. The boiler was torn into several pieces which were hurled with terrific force in different directions. The flues of the boiler and the main part of the engine including fly and belt wheels which weigh several tons, passed through the mill lengthwise sweeping machinery and everything before it, while the fire box went several yards in the opposite direction. The dome of the boiler was thrown about one hundred yards from the mill and the cylinder of the engine which would weigh about 600 pounds was thrown over 50 yards. Pieces of iron, belts and tin are to be seen hanging in the tops of trees 75 feet high. Mr. Ferguson's teams were near the mill and one of his valuable horses was badly cut about the neck, another had the harness entirely stripped of it but did not receive as much as a scratch from the flying debris. Seven men were in the shanty waiting for the saw to be filed when they would have resumed work on the mill. No man knows what might have been the result had they gone to work at the usual time instead of waiting for the filing of the saw. The sad accident has cast a gloom over the town and many sympathetic hearts go out to the injured and bereaved.

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