Columbus, OH Boiler Explosion In Penitentiary, June 1872



Columbus, Ohio, June 21 -- A boiler in the extensive shops of the Ohio Brush and Wire Works, located within the walls of the Ohio Penitentiary, exploded, this morning, just after the convicts had started to work, with a terrible noise and effect. The flying boiler tore out a large three-story building, in which it was placed, making it a mass of ruins, and tore out the side walls, and the roof off of HUFF'S cooper-shop, and GEORGE GILL'S stove-foundry not far off. Pieces of the boiler were thrown a great distance. At the time of the accident eighty-five men were in the brush-shop and were just going to work. The shock was terrific, and yet not person was killed outright. Several men were blown out of the windows and fell with the debris from the fourth story of the building. One man at work in the lower story of the boiler-house remained for thirty minutes between two heavy timbers. The fireman and the engineer in charge of the boiler were both buried under a pile of brick and timbers, but were dug out alive, though considerably burned and bruised. Some of the escapes were almost miraculous. The scene of the explosion is desolate enough, great piles of brick, stone, timber and machinery are scattered here and there, while the manufactured articles and raw material are scattered over the ground for a long distance. As soon as possible a large force was put to work, and the men who were buried under the ruins were all dug out, and with the other wounded were taken to the prison hospital, where scores of good nurses were on hand, and they are now all well cared for.
The engineer in charge of the boiler says he cannot account for the accident, as a second before the explosion occurred he had on but eighty-five pounds of steam.
One end of this same boiler exploded about a year ago, and it is said, it has leaked ever since.
The loss will be about $30,000.
The convicts injured by the Penitentiary boiler explosion today are all doing well tonight, except JOHNSON, MYERS and DEMPSEY, who are so badly injured internally it is thought they will die.

The New York Times New York 1872-06-22