Gary, IN Illinois Steel Company Explosion, Jun 1926
Toll Of Dead In Gary Blast Expected To Reach Twenty
MILL HEAD OVERCOME BY SHOCKING TRAGEDY
W. P. Gleason Hears Details of Explosion While He Is Confined In Hospital
General Superintendent WILLIAM P. GLEASON, of the Gary works of the Illinois Steel Company, who was convalescing in the Mercy hospital from an operation for the removal of his tonsils when the by-products plant blast occurred yesterday morning, today expressed his heartfelt sympathy to the families of the dead and injured.
It had been planned to remove him to his home yesterday, but the news of the tragedy came with such a shock that hospital attaches refused to permit his removal until today. At first it was decided to keep the news from him as long as possible, but he insisted to know the details of the truth.
MR. GLEASON'S first concern was for the families of those killed and maimed. Displaying the same emotion that he always has when mill accidents occur, he said: â€œWe can tenderly nurse the injured back to health, but the dead â€“ are gone.â€
He may be removed to his home today if his condition permits state attending physicians.
LIST OF DEAD
At Williams, Marshall & Good Morgue.
LESLIE B. RICHARDSON, foreman, 560 Delaware street, white.
FELIX RENICH, 641 Adams street, white.
JESUS PERGE, 1049 Jefferson street, white.
HARRY PHARLS, 404 Monroe street, white.
PONTIUS MOLINE, Miller, Indiana, white.
At Guys Morgue.
ESTINNES GABBIS, 1529 Maryland street, colored.
LEMUEL D. PITTMAN, 2156 Adams street, colored.
At Smith's Morgue.
MARVIN KILIGRE, 1315 Vermont street, colored.
JOSEPH HARRIS, 1538 Virginia street, colored.
LLOYD COLLIER, 1709 Jefferson street, colored.
BOB LIDDIE, 1900 Pennsylvania street, colored.
While Gary Steel Mill officials were conducting a rigid investigation today to determine the cause and place the blame into the by-products plant blast disaster in the coke department of the Gary Works of the Illinois Steel Company yesterday morning, snuffing out the lives of a dozen workmen, injuring some seventy-five others and causing an approximate property damage of half a million dollars, theories are being advanced by surviving victims.
That the blast came without a moment's warning is evident from the stories told by some of the victims. There was a blinding flash which was followed instantaneously by a terriffic[sic] blast. Workmen in the monster building were simply trapped like rats. More than a dozen were rendered unconscious and did not come to their senses until an hour or so later. The majority of the survivors state that it came with such a suddenness that they did not know what had happened.
One employe who was severely burned and wounded and was working near one of the condensers in the saturation department states that he witnessed the flash from the still, but was unable to give warning or escape himself.
From another workman it is hinted that the blast may have been caused by an engine in operation next to the bi-products plant. Members of the crew, L. LIGGETT, of Valparaiso, Ind., EARLE R. SMITH, 630 Washington street, switchman, and CLARENCE GALE, 756 Polk street, engineer, who were all injured, told graphic accounts of the explosion.
GALE stated that he was â€œso close to the bi-products building that he could have touched it with his handâ€ from the engine cab when the explosion occurred. Even GALE witnessed the blinding sheet of flame and flash before the blast. Bricks and parts of the metal roofing torn loose with the explosion showered down on the crew. LIGGETT, who was probably fatally injured, was rescued by GALE. SMITH, who was standing on the ground near the engine, was taken to the Methodist hospital suffering from abrasions and a compound fracture of the left foot.
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