Gary, IN Illinois Steel Company Explosion, Jun 1926

Toll Of Dead In Gary Blast Expected To Reach Twenty


W. P. Gleason Hears Details of Explosion While He Is Confined In Hospital

General Superintendent WILLIAM P. GLEASON, of the Gary works of the Illinois Steel Company, who was convalescing in the Mercy hospital from an operation for the removal of his tonsils when the by-products plant blast occurred yesterday morning, today expressed his heartfelt sympathy to the families of the dead and injured.
It had been planned to remove him to his home yesterday, but the news of the tragedy came with such a shock that hospital attaches refused to permit his removal until today. At first it was decided to keep the news from him as long as possible, but he insisted to know the details of the truth.
MR. GLEASON'S first concern was for the families of those killed and maimed. Displaying the same emotion that he always has when mill accidents occur, he said: “We can tenderly nurse the injured back to health, but the dead – are gone.”
He may be removed to his home today if his condition permits state attending physicians.

At Williams, Marshall & Good Morgue.
LESLIE B. RICHARDSON, foreman, 560 Delaware street, white.
FELIX RENICH, 641 Adams street, white.
JESUS PERGE, 1049 Jefferson street, white.
HARRY PHARLS, 404 Monroe street, white.
PONTIUS MOLINE, Miller, Indiana, white.
At Guys Morgue.
ESTINNES GABBIS, 1529 Maryland street, colored.
LEMUEL D. PITTMAN, 2156 Adams street, colored.
At Smith's Morgue.
MARVIN KILIGRE, 1315 Vermont street, colored.
JOSEPH HARRIS, 1538 Virginia street, colored.
LLOYD COLLIER, 1709 Jefferson street, colored.
BOB LIDDIE, 1900 Pennsylvania street, colored.

While Gary Steel Mill officials were conducting a rigid investigation today to determine the cause and place the blame into the by-products plant blast disaster in the coke department of the Gary Works of the Illinois Steel Company yesterday morning, snuffing out the lives of a dozen workmen, injuring some seventy-five others and causing an approximate property damage of half a million dollars, theories are being advanced by surviving victims.
That the blast came without a moment's warning is evident from the stories told by some of the victims. There was a blinding flash which was followed instantaneously by a terriffic[sic] blast. Workmen in the monster building were simply trapped like rats. More than a dozen were rendered unconscious and did not come to their senses until an hour or so later. The majority of the survivors state that it came with such a suddenness that they did not know what had happened.

Witnesses Flash
One employe who was severely burned and wounded and was working near one of the condensers in the saturation department states that he witnessed the flash from the still, but was unable to give warning or escape himself.
From another workman it is hinted that the blast may have been caused by an engine in operation next to the bi-products plant. Members of the crew, L. LIGGETT, of Valparaiso, Ind., EARLE R. SMITH, 630 Washington street, switchman, and CLARENCE GALE, 756 Polk street, engineer, who were all injured, told graphic accounts of the explosion.
GALE stated that he was “so close to the bi-products building that he could have touched it with his hand” from the engine cab when the explosion occurred. Even GALE witnessed the blinding sheet of flame and flash before the blast. Bricks and parts of the metal roofing torn loose with the explosion showered down on the crew. LIGGETT, who was probably fatally injured, was rescued by GALE. SMITH, who was standing on the ground near the engine, was taken to the Methodist hospital suffering from abrasions and a compound fracture of the left foot.

Continued on page 2


Accident February 17th 1924

I just read the accident of 1926 at the steel mill.

Very tragic indeed ..

I have been searching for information regarding my
Grandfather. He was also killed at one of the
Inland Steel Co. I think it was at Gary Indiana.
He was crushed to death by a overhead winch.
So tragic he was only 38years old. Living in Winnipeg
Mb. Canada. His plan was to bring the family to
Indiana but their dreams were not to be.
According to my Aunt the man who was operating it was drunk.
His name: Prokop Dowbush ..I have been trying to find
whatever information regarding his death. I keep hitting a brickwall. Their were serveral death notices in the Winnipeg Mb Press Press.. but am wanting to find
other death notices from in the area that he was employed. I am hoping that you maybe able to help me
in my search.

Thank you
Angela Dobish

Looking for this for years

One of those killed in this accident was my great grandfather. I have been trying to find something about it for years!. Thank you for posting it.