Pittsburgh, PA House Gas Explosion, Jan 1893

FATAL GAS EXPLOSION

Three Persons Were Killed and Four Were Badly Injured.

By an explosion of gas at Pittsburg, Penn., the house 1010 Sarah street, South Side, was wrecked, three persons killed and several injured. The list of killed is as follows:
THOMAS DOVEY, aged thirty-five, ironworker;
SOPHIA DOVEY, aged thirty-three;
MARY DOVEY, aged two years.
The injured were:
WILLIAM DOVEY, aged seven, burned and hurt by bricks, taken to South Side Hospital;
WILLIAM HARRIS, ironworker, severely burned;
MRS. HARRIS, hurt by falling wall;
Child of MRS. HARRIS, burned and severely bruised.
The house was jointly occupied by the families of THOMAS DOVEY and WILLIAM HARRIS. The latter family occupied three rooms on the third floor. HARRIS goes to work at 7 o'clock. He arose shortly after 6, leaving his wife and child in bed, and taking the scuttle in one hand and a lighted lamp in the other, started down stairs to the cellar for coal. HARRIS reached the bottom steps, when suddenly the very air seemed turned to fire, which, for a moment, blinded him an caused intense pain. At the same time he felt himself caught up and hurled half way up the steps, while his lighted lamp was shattered against a post.
The neighborhood was shaken by the terrific explosion, and the few persons on the street saw the house totter for a moment, then the roof fell in, followed by the right wall. The upper floor was crushed in and fell, carrying it to the first, which held, and this alone saved HARRIS'S life. Meanwhile the harvest of death had been awful, for the DOVEY family was wiped out of existence, save the young son.
The second floor, the brick wall, and the roof simply crushed the ceiling as though it was paper, and sleeping calmly in their beds, THOMAS DOVEY, his wife and the child in the cradle by their side, were wakened only to be crushed and buried in the ruins. A policeman passing sent in an alarm at once, and soon a large force of men was at work to rescue the imprisoned inmates. MRS. HARRIS and her child were found easily and taken out. They were cut and badly frightened. Then HARRIS was taken out easily, but it took twenty-five minutes to dig to where the DOVEY'S were imprisoned. They were alive when reached, but died as they were being taken out.
There was neither natural or illuminating gas in the house, and it is supposed that the gas leaked into the cellar from one of the large mains on the street. The loss is $1,500.

The Cranbury Press New Jersey 1893-01-13

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History of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania 1889 Read it online

Memoirs of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania : personal and genealogical, with portraits Read it online

History of Allegheny Co., Pennsylvania 1886 Read it online

Allegheny County : a sesqui-centennial review 1938 Read it online

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