Queens, NY Yacht COMMODORE Explosion, Jul 1936


Baby Daughter of J. E. Brown,
Owner, and Another Child
Killed at Queens Pier


Injured Women Rescued as
Craft Sinks—Explosion Is
Laid to Fuel Leak

Two children were killed and five
adults, including the children's
mothers, were burned and injured,
two seriously, yesterday afternoon
in an explosion on the fifty-foot
cabin cruiser Commodore that blew
four of them into Long Island
Sound at the foot of 154th Street,
Whitestone, Queens.
The Commodore had just been
fueled with 250 gallons of gasoline
preparatory to a pleasure
cruise when the blast occurred at
4:10 P. M. John E. Brown of
40-15 Eighty-first Street, Jackson
Heights, Queens, owner of the
Commodore and manager of a
candy store chain with offices at
1,543 Broadway, Manhattan, was
not aboard at t h e time. A prelimin
ary investigation led t h e police to
believe that the explosion and t h e
ensuing fire, which caused the
cabin cruiser to sink and damage
a near-by dock, resulted from leaking
of gasoline near the motor.

The Dead
The dead children were:
Patricia Irene Brown, 18 months
old, daughter of the yacht's owner,
whose body was found some
time later under the pier.
Jenny Newberry, 9 months old,
daughter of Mrs. Doris Newberry,
18 years old, also of 40-15 Eightyfirst
Street, Jackson Heights.

The Injured
The injured, who were taken to
Flushing Hospital after being rescued
from the water by volunteers,
Mrs. Newberry; multiple second degree
burns; condition serious.
Mrs. Irene Brown, 40, wife of the
owner; broken left foot; not serious.
Mrs. Charles Pettit of the Hotel
Piccadilly, Manhattan, mother of
Mrs. Brown; broken back and
burns: condition serious.
Ernest Schoenig of College Point,
Queens, the Commodore's captain
and engineer; slight burns; not
Floyd C. Layman of 141-28 156th
Street, Beechhurst, Queens;
slight hurts.
Layman, a gasoline salesmen,
who purchased the gasoline from
a truck and sold it to the Commodore's
owner, according to the
police, was on the dock at the
time. The police said Layman had
no certificate of fitness to dispense
gasoline to pleasure boats and h ad
no underground tank as required
by law.
It was announced that Assistant
District Attorney Anthony N. Lavotti
would present the matter to
a magistrate today.
The crew of the big steam yacht
Vagabondia, owned by W. M. L.
Mellon, nephew of Andrew W. Mellon,
former Secretary of t h e Treasury.

July 11, 1936 edition of The New York Times