Catasauqua, PA Silk Mill Explosion And Fire, Apr 1890

A FATAL SILK MILL FIRE.

FIVE MEN WERE KILLED AND SIXTEEN INJURED.

THE HORROR AT CATASAUQUA, PA.

AN EXPLOSION IN THE UNICORN SILK COMPANY'S MILL RAZES A WALL TO THE GROUND, BURYING OVER A SCORE OF PEOPLE IN THE DEBRIS.

Allentown, Pa., April 25 -- Fire wasa discovered in the building of the Unicorn Silk Manufacturing company at Catasauqua (with offices at Nos. 33 and 35 Greene Street, New York) yesterday. An alarm was quickly sounded, but owing to the hour the fire companies which are composed of volunteers, mainly working men employed in the different furnaces, factories and mills, were under the impression that the whistles were as usual calling them to their day's work, and did not respond until the fire had been burning about twenty minutes.
When they finally got to work a number of men were on the roof of an extension to the mill, and an explosion occurred which caused one of the walls of the main building to fall upon the men. The result was that five were killed and sixteen injured. As soon as the spectators could recover from their fright they went to work to rescue the victims.
The following are the dead:
EVERETT MYSSER, aged 25, he died on the way to the hospital.
JOSEPH GOOD, aged 28, he was a book keeper in Corwin's store.
CHARLES FRICK, aged 25, leaves a wife and three children.
JOSEPH LATEGINE, aged 40, he was the boss silk dyer, and leaves a family.
GEORGE PAFF, aged 22, died on the way to the hospital.
Most of the dead were still alive when taken from the ruins, but could not survive their hurts.
Ambulances and wagons were pressed into service to take the injured to their homes or the hospitals.
The following is a list of the victims:
ALBERT DERHAMMER, severe scalp wounds.
ROBERT G. DOUGERTY, aged 20, buried under the ruins, but taken out and may recover.
WILLIAM FENSTERMACHER, aged 30, injuries may prove fatal.
JOHN GRAFFIN, face burned and bruised by flying bricks.
WILLIAM HOWELLS, scalded about the face.
THOMAS JAMES, head cut and burned about the body.
WILLIAM JONES, hurt about the legs.
WILLIAM S. KAY, aged 23, badly scalded.
WILLIAM MATE, burned and bruised about head and body.
MICHAEL MOGAN, aged 30, burned about the head and face, cannot recover.
SAMUEL MORRIS, head and hands cut by broken glass.
HENRY PRICE, aged 19, badly bruised and scalded.
CLIFFORD RIEGEL, aged 22, hit on the head by bricks.
ROBERT WILKINSON, face and hands badly burned.
WILSON YOUNG, painful injuries to the head.
W. G. YOUNG, several scalp wounds.
It took the rescuers over two hours to take all the men from the ruins. Half a dozen surgeons were on the ground to attend the victims. The entire mill was destroyed, and the total loss is estimated at $800,000. It is probable that the mill will be rebuilt at once. The fire is supposed to have been caused by spontaneous combustion.

Trenton Times New Jersey 1890-04-25