Philadelphia, PA Steamer S. M. FELTON Explosion, Aug 1885
The passengers were mostly women taking babies for a fresh-air trip on the river. Their escape is accounted for by the providential fact that but few of them were in the forward part of the steamer, as the forward canvas awning had not been set, and the sun shining there made the passengers seek cooler spots in the stern of the boat.
EDWARD YOUNG, the fireman, says that when the explosion occurred he was carrying only thirty-five pounds of steam to the square inch.
Andrew Linker said today that he inspected the boiler last May and found it in good condition. The iron was tested. It is stamped 50,000 pounds, and broke at 56,000 pounds. The indentation in the head of the boiler, however, shows beyond doubt that the explosive force came from without, and not from within.
Capt. WILEY, MR. LAWRENCE, MR. MERSHON and MR. LINKER made a careful examination of the wreck for the purpose of ascertaining the cause of the explosion. The investigation established the fact that the explosion was caused by dynamite. The explosive had been placed forward, directly in the head of the boiler. The steamer came up from Wilmington at 8:30 and lay at her wharf until 10 o'clock last night. She lay at Wilmington in charge of Andrew Jones, of Bridgeton, N.J. He could not be communicated with today, but Capt. WILEY says that is a stranger had boarded or attempted to board the steamer last night the watchman would have informed him of that fact.
While the steamer lay at her wharf this morning the passengers came aboard and took chairs on the hurricane deck or aft. The officers and deck hands were busy, and no attention was paid to the movements of passengers. Several of them carried baskets, so that a bundle or package might have been carried aboard without attracting attention.
The official report made to H. F. Kennedy, Superintendent of the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad Company, under whose supervision the steamboat is operated, says: "The head of the boiler was indented and cracked about a foot in length. The explosion is believed to have been caused by a cartridge of some kind placed under the head of the boiler maliciously."
Detectives have been put on the case.
Sterling Standard Illinois 1885-08-20