Emporium, PA Aetna Powder Company Explosion, Dec 1916


Had Just Left Dry House of Aetna Powder Plant at Emporium


Seven Burned but Only the Ones Brought Here Were Seriously Injured by the Blast

There were thousands of pounds of it and it was stored in one of the largest dry houses of the Aetna Powder Company’s plant at Emporium. It isn’t there now; neither is the building in which it was stored. What was it? Right! It was smokeless powder—that is, it was up until 1:05 o’clock yesterday afternoon.

Incidentally, and because of the fact that they were only a few feet from the building when the smokeless went skyward, seven men employed in and about the house, were more or less seriously burned about the body, face and hands. Four of these men are now inmates of the Williamsport hospital are regarded as not necessarily fatal.

In Williamsport Hospital:

The [illegible] at the local hospital are:
Herman Erhard, aged 24 years.
Clarence Chilson, aged 24 years.
Walter Flemmming [sic], aged 26 years.
Lewis Guinter, aged about 40 years.

All four men are residents of Emporium and all are married.

Guinter is the least severely burned of the four, his burns being confined mainly to his face and hands. He was able to walk, but the other three were all brought to this city on cots and taken in the police ambulance and hospital ambulances to the local institution. They were accompanied by two officials of the plant. The other three of the seven injured are reported to have received but minor burns. All four men brought to this city were given temporary attention at the Aetna plant before being placed upon the Pennsylvania train reaching this city at 7 p.m. The officials wish especially to express their appreciation of the courtesies extended them by the employees of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company and those of the local police authorities.

Just Left Building

Of the actual accident there is little to tell. As Usual, what agent ignited the powder will never be known. The powder, the amount of which ran up into the thousands of pounds, had just been stored in one of the dry houses of the plant. The men had just left the building. Strange [illegible]..... "let's get the hell out of this. I've got a hunch that something's going to happen." Scarcely had the exclamation left his lips when with a blinding flash and the purring road peculiar to the ignition of large masses of this kind of powder, the building and its contents leaped into space in all directions.

Hurried to Ground.

The men were hurried to the ground by the force of the explosion. The fact that they had just left the building is the only factor which made it possible that they escaped with their lives. As soon as the work of rescue could e effected they were given medical treatment and afterward placed on the train bound for Williamsport.

Due to the fact that many persons had gotten word of the accident there was a large crowd at the railroad station when the train pulled in and it was necessary for the city and railroad police to keep back this [illegible] so that the men could be transferred from the cots on which they [illegible] the journey to those of [illegible]. The [illegible] a [illegible] was [illegible] by [illegible] ..... Charles Ebert and Charles Harris.

At the Williamsport hospital they were taken in charge by Intern Dr. Dawson

From Emporium.

The following message was received from Emporium last night:

Emporium, Dec. 8---A dry [illegible] at the Aetna Powder plant blew up at 1 o’clock this afternoon injuring seven men one probably fatally. The [illegible]..... probable that the heat was too strong and fired the mass. The crew which had been working in the building were caught on the elevator on the outside and swept by the wave of flame.

One man named Frampton, a millwright and superintendent of the gang was so seriously burned that he is not expected to live. He was taken to the hospital at Ridgway.

Ernard, Chilson, Fleming and Guinter were less severely burned and were sent to the Williamsport hospital.

Two others were slightly burned and are at their homes.

The building was blown to pieces and so intense was the heat that grass on the opposite side of the creek was set on fire.

Dr. Bush was called and gave first aid to the injured and a large crowd of curious gathered about the outside of the enclosure.

Gazette and Bulletin, Williamsport, PA 9 Dec 1916



Services for William Frampton Are Held at Ridgway Home.

Special to Gazette and Bulletin.

Ridgway, Dec. 13. ---The funeral of William Thomas Frampton, who was fatally injured in the explosion at Emporium, was held yesterday with a short service at the home at 219 South street at 2 o’clock, after which the remains were taken to the Free Methodist church on Metoxet street, where services were held. Rev. A. C. Crill, pastor of the Free Methodist church officiated, assisted by Archdeacon R. S. Radcliffe, of Grace church; Rev. H. R. Davis of Trinity M.E. church and Rev. Leight, of the Free Methodist church of Emporium. Interment was made in the mausoleum. The pallbearers were C. R. Slade, Howard Belts, Herbert [illegible - B?l???], A. O. Arvidson, Mossie Walsh and Mr. Glason, the latter an employee of the Aetna Powder Company of Emporium. The honorary pallbearers were Simon Agena, Charles Wedekind Sr., Charles Wedekind Jr. and Fred Wong.

The following from out-of-town were in attendance at the funeral: Smith Frampton and Miss Jennie Frampton, brother and sister of the deceased from Hallton; Mr. And Mrs. Jack Cook, Mrs. Clara Paup, Mrs. Harry McLaughlin, Mrs. Ellen Dahleand, Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Ward of Kane; Mr. and Mrs. Marion Lyons of Cooksburg; Charles Wedekind Sr. and son Charles of Shippenville; Mr. and Mrs. Edward Frampton of Brookville; Emerson Cornellus of Bradford and Mrs. Ethel Donner of Renovo.

Mr. Frampton is survived by two sisters, one located in Kansas and the other in Wyoming, who were unable to be in attendance at the funeral owing to the long distance.

Gazette and Bulletin, Williamsport, PA 14 Dec 1916