Hardy, WV Boiler Explosion, Apr 1937

TWO ARE KILLED IN BOILER EXPLOSION AT HARDY SAWMILL.

FOUR OTHERS ARE INJURED IN BLAST YESTERDAY AFTERNOON NEAR OAKVALE.

BODY OF ONE MAN IS BLOWN OVER TREE TOP.

HOMER RASH KILLED INSTANTLY AND RODELL A. SKEENS, AGED BYSTANDER, DIED IN HOSPITAL; INJURED MEN ARE BROUGHT TO HOSPITAL IN PRINCETON.

HOMER RASH, 25, of near Ingleside, died instantly and RODELL A. SKEENS, 77, of Hardy, died in Memorial Hospital, Princeton, last night as a result of a boiler explosion at a sawmill on East River mountain two miles above Hardy yesterday afternoon at 2:30. Four others were seriously injured.
The blast occurred at a newly set-up sawmill on the property of I. E. WHITE, former Princeton postmoster, who was at the operation at the time. He escaped unhurt.
The body of RASH, who was employed at the mill as fireman, was blown 132 feet and an arm was found 30 feet further on from the body, according to Sheriff G. H. Crumpecker, who with Prosecutor Roscoe H. Pendleton and Deputy Sheriff E. Dale Bailey, visited the scene of the explosion.
SKEENS' arm was also blown off and he suffered other severe injuries which resulted in his death at 7:30 last night. SKEENS with his grandson, GRASTIN SKEENS, 17, also of Hardy, were visiting the mill, which had only been set up Tuesday, and were watching the men as they were trying it out. Neither was employed there.
Young SKEENS was said by doctors to be the most seriously hurt. He suffered a fractured skull, a broken arm and serious body burns.
The other injured are:
IKE CARPER, 60, of near Ingleside, fractured back, and numberous severe burns.
IRVIN ELMORE, 32, of near Princeton, back injuries and a fractured hand.
MASON REID, 16, of near Princeton, fractured shoulder, fractured skull and lacerations of the scalp.
White said that he could ascribe no reason for the fatal blast. He asserted that the boiler had sufficient water in it as far as he knew. He was in a blacksmith shop about 30 feet from the engine when the explosion came.
Other bystanders, whose names were not learned, are said to have told Sheriff Crumpecker that there was a sharp report like a pistol shot, and then a tremendous blast as the boiler let go.
RASH'S body was said to have been blown over the top of a 50 foot apple tree. It was badly mangled by the force of the concussion.
Twisted pieces of the machinery were found 150 feet from the mill. The blasted shell of the boiler was hurled 125 feet up the Ronger mountainside by the tremendous force, measurements made by the officers showed.
RASH, CARPER, ELMORE and MASON were all employes of the operation, which on Tuesday had been transfered from another location. It was being run yesterday afternoon for the first time.
Hardy is located about a mile below Ingleside. The mill was in an isolated section and three ambulances dispatched to the scene by the Fredeking Funeral home were sent by way of Oakvale.
The injured men were brought to the Princeton hospital about 6 o'clock, where advance reports of the tragedy had caused a crowd to collect.
Little hope was held by physicians for the recovery of the elder SKEENS from the time of his admission.

Bluefield Daily Telegraph West Virginia 1937-04-08