Fort Wayne, IN Electric Works Tower Collapse, Nov 1915


When Upper Section of Construction Tower Collapses This Morning

One man was injured so badly that the died within an hour at the St. Joseph's hospital and another was painfully hurt at 10 o'clock this morning when the upper thirty feet of the 156-foot construction tower, being used in the erection of the new storage warehouse at the Fort Wayne Electric works' plant, in Broadway, suddenly collapsed.

The Victims.

Frank Farrell, 1805 Wall street, aged 25 years. Died at St. Joseph's hospital at 11:10 o'clock.

Charles. M. Helwig, of Hammond, painfully, but not seriously hurt; his injuries consisting of bruises.

The cause of the accident has not been yet ascertained. The tower was built in the shape of an elevator shaft and was used to haul concrete to the upper floors of the building. It was built of six by six-inch wood and was tightly bolted together. Guy wires were also used to steady the tower.

Fell 115 Feet.

Farrell was stationed on a platform 115 feet above the ground. His job was to take pails of concrete as they came up the shaft and pour them into a trough, which led to the third story moulds. When the upper thirty feet of the tower collapsed without warning, the platform was carried down and Farrell was plunged through the opening in the platform down through the center of the shaft.

The Fort Wayne News, Fort Wayne, IN 10 Nov 1915



When the upper thirty feet of a 156-foot scaffold fell at the new building being constructed at the Fort Wayne Electric works at 10:15 o’clock yesterday morning, Frank Farrell, aged twenty-seven, 1305 Wall street, was injured so badly that he died at 11:10 o’clock, less than an hour later at St. Joseph’s hospital. He was thrown 125 feet to the ground, but not a bone in his body was broken, death coming from internal hurts and concussion of the brain. Charles M. Helwig, a Hammond carpenter, was badly but not fatally injured.

Investigations yesterday by officials of the A. Bentley & Sons company, contractors, failed to reveal the cause of the scaffold’s collapse. It was made of six by six inch timbers bolted together and was supported by cables or guy wires. P.P. Wiant, civil engineer, stated that the towering scaffold, which was used as an elevator for the pouring of concrete was inspected only a few days ago.

Farrell was working on the scaffold, emptying the buckets of concrete into troughs as they were drawn up the inside of the tower. Without warning the top thirty feet crumpled and crashed to the ground, throwing Farrell down the inside of the structure. He was picked up unconscious and received first aid at the Electric works’ dispensary, being rushed to St. Joseph’s hospital where he expired, despite attempts by Dr. F.J. Schulz and Dr. B. Van Sweringen to save his life.

Helwig, who was nearly buried under falling timbers on the fourth floor of the building, sustained a bad scalp wound, cut above the eye, bad bruise on the leg and slight bruises from head to foot. He was taken to his rooming house at 715 Broadway, after receiving medical attention from Mrs. Nora L. Turner, in charge of the Electric works dispensary, and the physicians.

Farrell is survived by a widow and few months’ old babe, in addition to his father, G.B. Farrell, four brothers and two sisters. They are Andrew, employed at the Fort Wayne Electric works; Arthur, employed where his brother was killed; Charles, Miss Mary and Mrs. Martha Martz, of this city, and Ernest, of Toledo.

Funeral services will be held at 2 o’clock Friday at the house, in charge of the Rev. J.A. Nipper. Burial will be in Lindenwood cemetery.

The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, Fort Wayne, IN 11 Nov 1915