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New York, NY Boiler Explosion, Sept 1862



Fearful Explosion of a Boiler in Delancey street.



About 7 1/2 o'clock, yesterday morning, a fearful boiler explosion occurred in the manufactory of J.M. SINGER & CO., on the corner of Delancey and Mangin streets, from the effects of which three men have already died, and four others are scalded so badly that the physicians state it will be impossible for them to recover. The names of the deceased are CHRISTOPHER SHIELDS, of No. 232 Delancey; PATRICK GILSON, of No. 110 Goerickstreet, and ROBERT S. WILEY, corner of Stanton and Lewis-streets; WILLIAM FORD, of Greenpoint, and THOMAS CONNOLLY, of Rivington-street were in a dying condition, at the New-York Hospital, at a late hour last evening. CHRISTOPHER SHIELDS was so horribly scalded that he survived but a few moments after the accident. There are several other persons who are much injured, both by the steam and the bricks which fell upon them, but it is thought they may be saved.

Yesterday afternoon Coroner WILDEY and Deputy-Coroner BEACH went to the Station-house in that Ward, and proceeded to empanel a jury, and to get together the witnesses, with the intention of giving the case a thorough investigation. After the preliminary steps upon the inquest had been taken, all further action was postponed until 8 o'clock this morning, at which time all who have any knowledge of the facts and circumstances which led to this serious casualty are desired to be at the Station-house. There was a great degree of excitement in the neighborhood, yesterday, owing to the reports of the Police -- and others who had an opportunity to know -- that the accident was caused by the culpable negligence of those who had the care of the establishment the previous night.

BOWEN G. LORD, Sergeant of the Sanitary Squad, arrested Mr. GEO. R. MCKENZIE, the agent of the establishment. He was taken before Justice OSBORNE, yesterday afternoon, and upon the complaint of Officer LARD, was held to bail to await the result of the Coronels investigation. The charge against Mr. MCKENZIE is, that he had in his employ as engineer a illegible] who was not qualified according to law, and that he has thereby been guilty of a violation of an act of the Legislature of this State, passed in April last, which act provides that all persons in the City of New-York, acting as engineers, or who have charge of steam engines, shall have a certificate signed by the Police Commissioners, and at least two engineers of approved experience and ability.

The facts of the case will doubtless all be investigated, and the real cause of the explosion made public upon the inquest, and until this transpires, we forbear to comment upon the various conflicting rumors which were yesterday set afloat throughout all that part of the City. Coroner WILDEY was very active yesterday and last evening in securing the witnesses in the case, and says that he is determined to ferret out, and bring to the bar of justice the person or persons, who are guilty of the criminal negligence -- if any such there are.

The building, which was a very large one, was shattered and torn from top to bottom, and the damage to that alone is variously estimated at from $8,000 to $10,000. It was owned by Messrs. SINGER & Co., but not at present occupied by them, they having leased it to other parties. There is an insurance upon it of $32,000; also an insurance of $2,000 upon the engines and $1,000 upon the shafting and other machinery. The loss of property in and around the premises, in addition to the building, is estimated at $12,000.

AUSTIN KELLY & Co., hoop-skirt manufacturers, occupied a considerable portion of the upper part of the building. They usually employ between three and four hundred girls, and it is only owing to the fact that the explosion took place at an early hour in the morning, that a much greater loss of life did not occur.

The New York Times, New York, NY 7 Sept 1862

article | by Dr. Radut