123

New York, NY Ferryboat RICHMOND Boiler Explosion and Panic, Jul 1906

At the sound of "Quarters" the crew to a man went to their stations, and commenced to quiet the passengers, who were running wildly about trying to find out what had happened. Under orders out what had happened. Under orders of Capt. Cole the crew went about telling the passengers that the accident was trifling, and that they would soon be put ashore. It took some little time to reassure them, and not a few seized and hugged life preservers until the boat had backed into her slip again. Several men who became excited had to be handed a little roughly to bring them to their senses.

The pipe burst without any warning to the four men in the boiler room. There was one loud report, followed by a hissing cloud of steam, that enveloped the men. Tortured by the pain, they nevertheless managed to grope their way to the narrow ladder and climb out. All of them were knocked off their feet by the explosion. When they got to the grating the deckhands there pulled them out.

All but one of the men managed to partially keep their faces covered in a manner with their arms, even while climbing up the ladder, but Joseph Dugan, who was nearest the point where the steam pipe burst, caught a spurt of steam directly in the face. Dr. Leslie, who attended him, said he was in a serious condition.

The escaping steam did not enter the engine room, a bulkhead compartment separating the engine room from the boiler room, and Engineer Wilson stuck to his engine until the boat was tied up in the slip. The fireman in the after banking their own fires, went to the aid of their comrades, whom they feared were imprisoned in the forward boiler room. When they arrived there, however, all the men were out, and they devoted their attentions to pouring lubricating oil on the burns of the injured, until they were removed from the boat.

Patrolman McNulty, who was on shore, summoned the reserves from the Church Street Station when he heard the explosion. The prompt arrival of the reserves, who reached the boat in five minutes after the accident, was of great help in the handling of the crowd off the boat and the transfer of the 1,500 people, the majority of whom were women and children, to the ferryboat Manhattan.

Pilot Turner said that as the boat was almost immediately backed into the slip and made fast the period of excitement was very short. As she backed in a few men tried to climb over the guard rail, but they were speedily yanked back by the deckhands.

The Brooklyn was put on in the place of the Richmond and the regular twenty-minute schedule was not interrupted. An examination will be made by Engineer Wilson as to the cause of the explosion.

The New York Times, New York, NY 16 Jul 1906

123