Watertown, NY Oil Tank Collapses, Oct 1951

INQUEST SLATED IN DEATH OF WATERTOWN MAN KILLED AS GAS TANK COLLAPSES.

STRUCTURE IS TWISTED BY HIGH WIND.

FOUR OTHERS ARE INJURED.

Watertown -- An inquest will be held this week by District Attorney Milton A. Wilise in the oil storage tank tragedy which cost the life of one Watertown man and injuries to four men employed on the New York Central roundhouse project in the Massey St. yards.
MICHAEL JOHN THORPE, 21, welder's helper, son of Mr. and Mrs. John R. Thorpe of 1204 Boyd St., was instantly killed when he fell 48 feet from a staging to a concrete floor as a 55-mile-an-hour wind collapsed a section of the 1,000,000 gallon capacity tank under construction.
The injured are MICHAEL MINUE, 45, Carteret, N.J., who had been residing at 127 Winslow St., in House of the Good Samaritan with a fractured and dislocated left wrist and a fracture of the left ring finger, shest and back injuries.
MERVIN EASTWICK, 48, of Haddon Heights, N.J., who has been living in a trailer on the Black River Road, laceration to the back and injuries to his pelvis. He is at the same hospital.
DEZSO BATTA, 40, of Woodbridge, N.J., injury to his right leg in addition to head injuries and bruises, at Mercy Hospital.
WILMER BARTHOLOMEW, 24, of Kunkletown, Pa., head and body injuried at Mercy Hospital but his condition is reported to be not so good.
THORPE died from a skull fracture.
The men were working on stagings on the top of the tank. Four of the men, including THORPE, were working on the interior of the tank with two other men on the exterior. They were preparing to install a channel iron as part of the wind. The wind hit and stove in a section 35 feet high and 50 feet wide.
The partial collapse of the section of the tank snapped the stagings. THORPE, MINUE, EASTWICK and BARTHOLOMEW plunged 48 feet to the ground. Three planks, weighing 70 pounds each, fell on THORPE.
Walter Reiser, West New York, N. J., working on the outside staging, escaped plunging to the ground as he was standing on a portion of the platform which did not give way. He reached safely by sliding down a "gin" pole. BATTA was knocked off the platform but he slide onto the section of the storage tank which had been stove in.

Syracuse Herald Journal New York 1951-10-25