Wilmington, DE Dupont Powder Company Explosion - 30 Killed by Blast
THIRTY KILLED BY POWDER BLAST
Seven Others Injured in EXPLOSION at Dupont Plant.
VICTIMS BLOWN TO ATOMS
Wilmington, Del., Dec. 1. Thirty men, nearly all of them young, were killed and seven were injured when 80,000 pounds of black powder exploded in a packing house in the upper Hagley yard of the E. I. Dupont de Nemours & company, near here.
The cause, an official statement given out by the company says, is a mystery. However, there were rumors afloat that some outside agency caused the detonation of the powder. These speculations concerning the possibility of a plot to blow up the Dupont works were based largely upon posters recently put up near the powder plant warning Germans to get away not later that January 1.
The killed are: JAMES BAIRD, BENJAMIN BARBER, MARGE BRICOTTI, ELMER CUMPSTON, JAMES EGNER, HARRY ELLIOTT, ELMER FOX, NORMAN FISHER, JAMES GENNETT, NELSON NEWGATE, J. HABER, FRED JEFFREY, B, KELCHER, EDWARD KING, JAMES MALLOY, BRYAN O'CONNOR, HARRY PLACE, G. SYLVESTRI, PAUL SMACK, JOHN SMACK, WESLEY SIMPSON, E. SPRINGFIELD, ALLEN A. THAXTER (foreman), LESLIE TIMMONS, W. WEIN, ELMER MACE, PATRICK HANRAHAN, C. PLEASANTON, WILLIAM OLIVER and one other man thus far unidentified.
The injured are: Lewis Booker, Edward Davis, E. F. Ware, P. J. Sikes, W. H. Oliver, J. R. Meredith, all of whom are at local hospitals. MACE, a driver: HANRAHAN, a carpenter; CLARCENCE PLEASANTON, fireman, and W. OLLIVER, machinist, among the killed, were outside the packing house.
The explosion was so severe that only a hole in the ground marks the spot. The packing house was blown to pieces, as were other structures nearby. There were twenty-five men and youths from sixteen to twenty-one years at work in the packing house. None survived. They were all blown to atoms, not enough of any body being found to enable identification. The others killed were outside the building. For hours after the explosion, other workmen in the yards were busy with buckets and baskets picking up arms, legs, hands and remnants of flesh scattered over the surrounding country and hanging from trees over a quarter of a mile.
The only body identified among those known to have been in the packing house is that of ALLEN A. THAXTER, of Portland, Me., foreman in the mill. The trunk of his body was blown across the Brandywine creek and was identified by shreds of clothing that clung to the mangled flesh.
The men injured were at work outside the packing house or in adjoining mills.
The disaster was one of the worst that has ever occurred in the history of the Dupont company. Twenty-five years ago six mills in the same plant exploded and killed fourteen men and injured a number of others. The money loss will only be a few thousand dollars.
All of the injured were badly mutilated, some having their eyes blown out and limbs almost torn off. Some will die.
JOHN SMACK, one of the killed, only began work Monday. The scene about the plant was heartrending. Hundreds of relatives of workmen clamored for admission or screamed in anguish.
Just before the explosion occurred a car carrying several thousand pounds of powder was run along a narrow railroad track to the door of the packing house. This was drawn by two horses. One theory is that some of the powder spilled from the car, and falling on the tracks was ignited by the car passing over it. It is supposed this flash ignited the explosive in the car and caused the disaster.
The News, Frederick, MD 1 Dec 1915