Baltimore, MD Harbor Explosion, Mar 1913


300 Tons of Dynamite on Ships Drench Decks With Blood.


Tug Captain and Men Killed in Heroic Attempt at Rescue.


British Tramp Steamer Alum Chine Destroyed in Baltimore Harbor When Explosive Being Loaded for the Panama Canal Is Detonated - Cause Attributed to Fire of Unknown Origin - Captain of Tug Atlantic Turns Back to Rescue Two Men - His Vessel Overwhelmed by Explosion and Sunk - Shock Felt as Far as Dover, Del., Where Legislature Suspends Business Temporarily - Houses on Shore Badly Damaged.

Shock is felt in four States. Residents of towns 100 miles distant thought an earthquake had occurred.
Forty to 50 killed when 300 tons of dynamite on ship and barge explode.
Ship Alum Chine and leading scow destroyed.
Tug Atlantic set on fire and sunk.
New naval collier Jason riddled above water line.
Many bodies may never be recovered.
Captain of tug Atlantic loses life in heroic attempt to rescue two sailors.
Property loss $500,000 to $600,000.
Explosion occurs off Fort Carroll in the lower Baltimore harbor.

Baltimore, Mar. 7 - Three hundred tons of dynamite being loaded in the British tramp steamer Alum Chine in the lower harbor, off Fort Carroll, exploded about 10:30 o'clock this morning, instantly killing from 40 to 50 men, wounding and maiming three-score more, some of whom may die, and dealing destruction to half a million dollars worth of property.

Three Vessels Destroyed.
The Alum Chine and a loading scow alongside here[sic] were completely annihilated; the tug Atlantic, which twice went to the rescue of imperiled seamen, was set on fire and later sunk; the United States collier Jason, just completed and ready for trial, was raked to her deck and her armor riddled, and buildings in Baltimore and cities and towns many miles away were rocked by the force of the terrific explosion. The steamer was loading dynamite for the Panama Canal.

Cause of Disaster Unknown.
The cause of the disaster is unknown tonight, but Federal authorities have instituted a thorough investigation to place the blame. Excited survivors told conflicting stories, some insisting that a negro stevedore caused the explosion by jamming a pike into a case of dynamite. This is denied by eyewitnesses, who declare that smoke was seen pouring from the Alum Chine's hold several minutes before the explosion occurred.

Twenty Bodies Recovered.
The bodies of 20 dead have been brought to morgues in this city, and 60 injured are in the hospitals. The estimates of the dead include 30 stevedores and checkers of the JOSEPH R. FOARD Company employed in transferring dynamite from a barge to the Alum Chine, which was bound for Panama, 8 members of the crew of the Alum Chine, 6 men on the collier Jason, and the captain and seven members of the crew of the tug Atlantic. Many bodies, it is believed, never will be recovered from the icy waters.

Of the injured a score are frightfully maimed, their skulls fractured, arms and legs torn off, and their bodies terribly lacerated. At least fifteen are expected to die.