Buffalo, NY Boiler Explosion, Apr 1880



Buffalo, April 2. -- The most disastrous boiler explosion, accompanied by loss of life and serious injury to several men, that has occurred in Buffalo for many months, took place at an early hour this morning, at the Buffalo Steam Forge, HENRY CHILDS proprietor, on the south bank of Buffalo River, near the Ohio street swing bridge. The forge is a frame structure, about 150 feet long and 80 feet wide, and contains four furnaces, to each one of which a portable boiler is attached. It was one of these that exploded. The explosion occurred at 7:15 A.M. The night gang had been relieved by the day men, who had been heating their iron, and at the hour named were just preparing to commence the work of turning out their "heat," when there came a terrific report from the rear end of the building, accompanied by the crash of falling timbers, while the air was filled with steam and flying fragments of iron and wood. The men were nearly all prostrated by the force of the shock. EDWARD GARRITY was lifted from his feet by the force of the concussion, carried swiftly through a window, and neatly landed on the turf outside, uninjured. The first man removed from the ruins was a heater -- JACOB DEITRICH. A bar of railroad iron had fallen across his right ankle, the bones being so badly crushed as to make amputation necessary. The whole of his back and other portions of his body were terribly scalded. FRANZ J. KAMMERER, the chief engineer of the forge, was instantly killed. His mutilated body presented a terrible appearance. He leaves a wife and eight children. Two other men -- PATRICK SHANNON and NICHOLAS RODEM -- were scalded.
DEITRICH says that before the explosion he observed that steam was issuing from the boiler into the fire box. He called the attention of the engineer to it, and KAMMERER then, in accordance with the usual custom, turned steam into the "mud pipe" of the boiler to blow it out. After this was done, DEITRICH stepped in front of the furnace, and was about to go to work, when he heared a screeching noise, and then came the explosion. KAMMERER was considered a trustworthy man, and the boiler was believed to be in good condition. The disaster will be rigidly investigated, and the blame placed, if possible, where it belongs. Coroner SCOTT, had a committee of experts engaged this afternoon in examining the fragments of the boiler. The accident will cause only a partial suspension of work at the forge.

The New York Times New York 1880-04-03