Albany, NY Naphtha Explosion, Sept 1901


Albany (Special). -- A frightful fate befell the family of WILBUR ALEXANDER, a large contractor of this city. A naphtha launch exploded on the Hudson river at “The Abbey,” a mile and a half below this city, killing MRS. ALEXANDER and her little daughter and burning WILBUR ALEXANDER and his son, WILBUR ALEXANDER, JR., in a horrible manner.

The accident was the termination of a day's outing on the river. MR. ALEXANDER took his wife and their son and daughter for a trip south from this city. On the journey home MR. ALEXANDER was taken ill. He ran the launch into a side cut near “The Abbey.” The launch was tied near the shore. The son – 12 years old – went to give some medicine to his father, who was lying in the stern of the launch. The boy carried a lantern, and as he passed the tank containing the naphtha an explosion occurred, scattering the blazing fluid in every direction setting fire to the launch. MRS. ALEXANDER and her daughter were near the tank and their bodies were completely covered with the blazing oil. The son jumped into the water when the explosion took place. MR. ALEXANDER rushed in the assistance of his wife and daughter, but they were burned to death before his eyes. He was at length compelled to jump into the river to save himself. The bodies of the wife and daughter were burned to a crisp, and the launch was entirely consumed.

MR. ALEXANDER and his son were seriously burned about the head and body. It is believed MR. ALEXANDER will die. The boy, though badly burned will recover.

Chateaugay Record New York 1901-09-06