Horrell Station, PA Standard Powder Company Explosion, Aug 1904



Gas Generated in the Soda House, Let Go and Building Was Set on Fire--- When Water Washed the Soda Into the River There Were Three Explosions--Men Hurt by Flying Timbers and Stones.

Several men were hurt at the Standard Powder Company’s plant, at Horrell station, on the Williamsburg branch, at 7:15 o’clock this morning, during a series of explosions there. When the news spread there was great excitement, for a repetition of the horrible disaster at Williamsburg over a year ago was feared. However, none of the men was seriously hurt. The soda house was burned to the ground, but the loss will not be great, since the other buildings were saved.

The explosion occurred in the soda house. Workmen were mixing soda and sulphur at the time and in some manner, while beating it, gas was generated and ignited. The explosion wrecked the building and set fire to it. The men escaped without injury.
The workmen at the other buildings, in the immediate vicinity, were hastily organized into a bucket brigade to extinguish the flames. The water thrown on the building washed the soda down into the stream which runs nearby and a series of three, explosions followed.

John Walls, aged 42, and Robert Gregg aged 30, who were in the crowd of workmen, were struck by flying timbers and suffered slight injuries. Others were hit by clods of dirt and small stones, thrown by the explosion.

The fire was confined to the soda house, there being ample protection for the other buildings. This is the second explosion to occur at the Standard powder plant, the first one being only of minor importance.

The Standard Company is owned by Pittsburg capitalists. George McAbee is the manager.

Altoona Mirror, Altoona, PA 17 Aug 1904