Syracuse, NY Split Rock Explosion, Jul 1918
FATHER AND SON KILLED FIGHTING FIRE
Fred W. and Harold Edgett's Charred Bodies Near One Another.
SON'S WIFE IS ILL
News Kept From Her, Fearing Shock Might Prove Fatal.
FRED WELLINGTON EDGETT of No. 338 Fitch street and his son, HAROLD N. EDGETT of No. 431 Seymour street, met death as they were fighting fire side by side prior to the explosion in one of the T. N. T. plants at Split Rock last night.
Charred Bodies Found.
Little is known how MR. EDGETT and his son died. It is known that they went together to fight the flames and as their badly burned bodies were found quite close to one another. It is assumed that they worked together until they were killed.
The bodies were not so mutilated that they could not be identified, and friends of the family discovered them at the morgue a few hours after the dead began coming in.
Son's Wife Ill.
MRS. EDGETT, JR., is ill at the home of her father-in-law and had not been notified of the double tragedy early this afternoon. The family fear the shock to her in her weakened condition.
Funeral services for the victims will be held privately from the undertaking rooms of W. A. Fancher, No. 112 Seymour street, Thursday afternoon. Both bodies will be taken to Sandy Creek for burial.
WOMAN WAS BLOWN UP IN HER KITCHEN
MRS. NELLIE MARTIN of Split Rock watched the fire fighting in the plant from her kitchen windows which looked out toward No. 1, T. N. T., which was the first building burned.
Started For Bed.
From where she stood she took it for granted that the elaborate system of checking the flames was successful, and not uneasy in her mind, prepared for bed.
MRS. MARTIN was picked up unconscious under a pile of refuse caused by the falling ceiling of her kitchen and furniture which had been hurled upon her as she dropped a few feet from the stove.
MRS. MARTIN was able to talk this morning at the Crouse-Irving hospital. She suffered severe bruises and shock.
Was Fixing the Fire.
"I was standing by the stove in my kitchen," said MRS. MARTIN. "I was getting the fire fixed for the night and was preparing to go to bed. It seemed to me as though the excitement at the plant was all over. I knew that there had been a fire but I did not know that it had been gaining ground. I thought it was all in No. 1."
A Great Flash of Light
"I was leaning over the stove. Suddenly there was a great flash of light - for all the world like lightning right in front of me. It seemed just in front of me. That was all I knew, but it was terrible, that awful light. I wasn't burned. The force of the explosion threw me backward."
"My husband was not at home. When he learned of the explosion he rushed back and found me, so they told me this morning and had me brought her."
'I shall never be able to forget this awful shock. I think it is the shock and knowing all about what has happened that makes me feel worse that the pains from the bruises and they are bad enough."
NITROFIER CAUSED THE EXPLOSION, SAYS VICTIM
Burton J. Hall Relates Remarkable Experience Before and After Horrible Blast at Chemical Plant.
The probable cause of the explosion is given by BURTON J. HALL, No. 1012 Montgomery street, who had a remarkable escape from death.
HALL thinks his nitrofier in Plant No. 1 blew up. This contained 2,200 pound of toluol.
"There were but two nitrofiers in this building," HALL said. "I was working 2,200 pounds in my nitrofier," said HALL. "It was in the first stage. There was but one other nitrofier in the plant and the toluol there had not reached the stage where it would explode."
HALL'S story is a graphic description preceding and after the explosion.
He runs a nitrofier. "At 8:40," he said, "while I was at my place taking the temperature somebody shouted: 'Get out her "Black smoke was then coming from the opening from downstairs. There were four in the room, LESLIE POTTER, DAVID DAVIDSON, CALVIN BRUNNE and myself. We were on the top floor of No. 1 and made a rush out. This brought us on the level of the hill. We ran to the road, then to the police station and with about twenty others grabbed hose lines. POTTER and I had one hose. POTTER told me to go in the building and turn on the water."
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