Pinole, CA Powder Works Explosion, May 1895

MANY ARE KILLED.

TEN THOUSAND POUNDS OF EXPLOSIVES GO UP AT SAN FRANCISCO.

FOURTEEN ARE BLOWN TO PIECES.

San Francisco, May 23. -- A terrific report and concussion, which was distinctly felt all through the city and at towns around the bay for a distance of 40 miles, was at first believed to be caused by an earthquake, but proved to be an explosion in the nitro-glycerine and mixing houses of the California powder works at Pinole, across the bay. The crew of the glycerine house, four in number, and the foreman of the mixing house were all killed, as were nine Chinese working in the latter department. The explosion occurred in the nitro-glycerine house and was probably caused by one of the Chinese dropping a can of the explosive. The cause cannot be definitely ascertained, however, as all connected with the building are dead.
There were 200 Chinese in the adjacent mixing room, and at the sound of the explosion all ran and the majority escaped. The force of the explosion was tremendous. Huge trees were thrown into the bay a distance of half a mile, and nitro-glycerine tanks weighing a ton each are now lying 500 yards distant from the scene. Hands, legs and other parts of the mutilated remains of the dead were scattered along the road for a mile. The nitro-glycerine house first went up, then the mixing storehouse and gun cotton in the premises followed. The nitro-glycerine house , of which not a vestige now remains, was a 3-story frame structure, 1,200 by 50 feet. It contained 8,000 pounds of nitro-glycerine and 2,000 pounds of Hercules powder. A remarkable feature of the explosion is that although the storehouse containing 1,000 pounds of Hercules powder is completely wrecked, its contents are intact. In all 10,000 pounds of explosives went up with a roar and a sheet of flame.
The fatalities are as follows:
CLARE JOHNSON, foreman glycerine house.
D. A. DOANE, of Pinole.
M. MIUANCH, of Oakland.
C. VEIEGAS, of Martinez.
W. D. TAYLOR, foreman mixing house.
Nine Chinese.

Daily Huronite South Dakota 1895-05-23