New York, NY Gas Tank Collapse, Dec 1898


Peculiar Accident That Killed and Injured Many in New York City.


Air Explodes a Huge Gas Tank – Tons of Water Flood Streets and Wreck Houses – Three Killed and Many Wounded – The Contractor and Engineer Arrested – Homicide the Charge.

NEW YORK CITY (Special).-- With a rasping, crashing road that completely drowned the tumult of the city's streets and the buzz of the surrounding factories the great steel gas tank of the Consolidated Gas Company at Avenue A and Twentieth street said to be the largest of the sort in the world, collapsed at 5:30 o'clock Tuesday night. Three people were killed, seventeen others were injured, and three persons known to be in the neighborhood at the time were missing. Masonry of granite blocks and bricks to the height of half a hundred feet fell as a child's toy house of blocks, and let loose eight million gallons of water, deluging the busy shops, and, in a great tidal wave, carrying death and destruction and injury through the surrounding neighborhood.
The dead are:
PIONS BAUM, engineer in adjacent factory; JOHN GRAY, gateman; ANDREW WENDT, workman.
The wounded are:
MUCHAEL DUER, twenty-five years old, contusions; TIMOTHY DUNN, fifty-five years old, general contusions and submersion by water; HENRY FULDNER, manufacturer, submersion; HERMAN FULDNER, son of HENRY FULDNER, contusions and submersion; WILLIAM KANE, lacerated face and contusions; THOMAS KEARNEY, fifteen years old, almost drowned; HUGH KELLY, fifteen years old, almost drowned; PATRICK MALLOY, twenty-eight years old, engineer; AUGUST HUFFELBECHT, thirty-six years old, lacerations of face and body and submersion; JOHN MILLER, fourteen years old, almost drowned; CATHARINE O'CONNELL, four years old, broken leg and contusions; MARY ANN O'CONNELL nineteen years old, lacerated body; PATRICK O'NEILLY, twenty-nine years old, general contusions, lacerations of the face; CHARLES QUIGG, twenty-nine years old, lacerated face and wounds on body; JACOB WAGNER, thirty-eight years old, general contusions; PETER WALKER, forty-nine years old, shoulder and contusions; CHARLES WRIGHT, thirty-five years old, general contusions.
The gas tank proper which was built on the telescopic plan, was 160 feet high, constructed in three sections, and was supported by twelve immense cast iron pillars, which were 212 feet high.
Underneath the gas tank and surrounded by the huge iron pillars was a water pit which was forty-two feet in depth and contained 8,000,000 gallons of water. Twenty-five feet of this water pit was above the surface of the ground constructed of solid masonry.
It was upon this cushion of 8,000,000 gallons of water contained in the water pit that the gas tank itself rested, much as though one would take an empty glass and place it upside down in a larger glass filled with water.
There was no bottom to the gas tank, the water in which it rested making it air tight. A pipe running up through the water pit carried the gas up into the tank and its telescopic sides arose as the gas filled it.
When the collapse came it was so complete that the thick masonry walls of the water pit fell apart and the immense volume of water it contained poured out, deluge like, rushing in a torrent through the streets to a depth of about four feet.
So resistless was this current that iron pipes and girders weighing tons were carried a block away by it and broken and twisted by the fury with which it tossed them about.
In this flood scores of men, women and children were caught and hurled about like straws. Rapidly subsiding, the torrent left them half drowned and frozen, with bones broken and bodies bruised, strewn about for a block in every direction.
W. J. LOGAN, of the Logan Iron Works, the contractor who was building the tank, and WILLIAM H. BRADLEY, the chief engineer of the Consolidated Gas Company and said to be jointly responsible with LOGAN for the work were placed under arrest. Both were charged with homicide, and admitted to $10,000 bail.

The Cranbury Press New Jersey 1898-12-16