Nashville, TN Steamer PADUCAH Explosion, Oct 1887


The Steamer Paducah Wrecked by an Explosion.

NASHVILLE, Tenn., October 8. - [Special.] - A terrible accident occurred this morning at the site of the Hyde's ferry bridge, over the Cumberland, a few miles below the city. The boiled of the little steamer Paducah, (the engine of which has been used to pump water out of the coffer dam), exploded, literally blowing the boat into kindling wood, and instantly killing THOMAS J. TRIPPARD, a young man who was acting as engineer of the boat, and breaking the leg of William Morgan, carpenter of the bridge works. At the time of the accident there were a number of men at work in the coffer dam just adjoining the boat. Mr. Broderick, the contractor, says he looked up when he heard a deafening explosion, and saw the air obscured with fragments. The boiler of the little steamer, which was at the time in use pumping water out of the coffer dam, had exploded, and only a half sunken hull, surrounded by a mass of kindling wood, remained to show where the boat had been. William Morgan, the carpenter of the works, was standing with Hugh Henderson on a flat boat which extends from the shore to the coffer dam at a distance of forty or fifty feet from the steamer. A heavy piece of scantling was blown from the steamer and struck Morgan with great force on the left leg breaking the bone.

In the meantime search was made for Thos. J. Trippard, the engineer of the boat. His body was found near the gunwale of the half sunken wreck. He was quite dead, with the front of his skull crushed in, a bad hole in his side, and his body and face bruised and scalded. His remains were carried to the bank and covered with a quilt. Morgan was taken across the river to his home. Deputy Coroner Hood was dispatched to the scene, and a jury of inquest was empanelled. A number of witnesses were examined and gave their account of the awful explosion. Frank Walker, who had been the main engineer testified that the boiler had been inspected by the steamboat inspectors. Martin Harvey, a boy, said that he was in the boiler room about ten minutes before the explosion, and that Trippard had said that there was 140 pounds of steam on, 20 pounds more than was allowed. The jury brought in a verdict - the Trippard came to his death by the boiler explosion on the steamer Paducah, of which he was engineer, and are of the opinion that said the explosion was caused by carrying more steam than was allowed by the steamboat inspectors' license.

A large piece of the boiler, according to the statement of Mr. Walker, an old one, was found about 150 yards up the river bank, and fragments were blown into the field high above. Some of the workmen say that bits of the boat were blown across the river. The shock was severely felt in houses for a distance of half a mile.

The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, GA 9 Oct 1887