Blown to Pieces
Eleven Men Met This Fate Near Shenk's Ferry on Saturday.
DYNAMITES AWFUL DESTRUCTION
The Most Horrible Disaster of Recent Years in this County Brought Distress to Many
With a roar and a shock that were heard and felt miles away, and resulted from a cause that can only be guessed at, a dynamite factory in Bausman's Hollow, a mile east of Shenk's Ferry, blew up on Saturday afternoon, blowing eleven men to pieces and scattering the fragments all over the immediate neighborhood, injuring at the same time nine other men. A number of girls and women at work in one of the buildings escaped physical damage except shock and temporary deafness.
Phares Shoff of Colemanville, aged 18 years
Benjamin Rineer of Colemanville, aged 23 years
Joseph Rineer of Colemanville, aged 19 years
William Funk of Colemanville, aged 18 years
W. Collins Parker of York Furnace, aged 16 years
Fred Rice, residing near Colemanville, aged 25 years
John Boatman of Pequea, aged 17 years
J. Curtis Myers of York, aged 38 years
Ernest Turner, Boyd Mills, Wayne County, aged 35 years.
George Hathaway of Emporium, Pa. aged 19 years.
Edward Holmes of Buffalo, N.Y., aged 27 years.
Martin Rineer of Colemanville, father of the dead boys of the same name, right arm broken and badly cut and bruised.
John Gephart of near Colemanville, struck by a rock in the breast and cut around the head.
Henry Boatman, Benjamin Johnson, Charles Creamer, Abraham Schwartz, Jacob Shoff and Walter Bewets were more or less cut and bruised, but they were not seriously injured.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Awful tale of the Awful Work of an Awful Explosive.
The dynamite plant was the property of the G. R. McAbee Powder and Oil Company of Pittsburg. The superintendent in charge is Albert Rapp. For about years the plant has been turning out dynamite and at the time of the explosion it was filling a large order for the new McCall's Ferry dam. There were a number of buildings, in one of which was stored about two carloads of the deadly stuff that did not explode. The trees around about were torn and shattered by the explosion and deep holes mark the sites of the destroyed buildings. At the farm of Jacob Sigman, almost a half mile away, the barn was thrown out of plumb, and several windows were torn completely out of the house. Mr. Sigman said that when the explosion came his whole house inside was illuminated by a yellow color, which lasted almost a minute. At the house of Herman Gephart, not far from the factory, every window pane was broken, as were all the dishes. Mrs. Gephart was sewing and she was thrown to the floor. At Jacob Risser's, a half mile away, the windows were broken and the house and the dishes were all smashed. It was the same in other houses of the neighborhood, although those named were the closest, and in Colemanville the doors were opened by the shock and the windows rattled.
The accident happened a few minutes before 1 o'clock. A watch, belonging to one of the dead men, showed the time to have been 12:42. The men had nearly all returned to work, and in the punch house were the two Rineer brothers, Funk, Phares Shoff, Parker, John Boatman, Turner, Hathaway, Holmes and Myers. Frederick Rice was sitting in the doorway cutting paper. The men in the punch house were punching and casing the dynamite, of which there was about 2,500 pounds in the building. When the explosion came-and nobody knows or ever will know what caused it-the men were torn to pieces, while the building was blown to splinters. Pieces of timber were sent flying in all directions. Supt. Rapp was in his office making out the pay roll; the explosion caused him to jump through a window, taking sash and all with him, and he was followed by several others.
In a few moments another explosion ocurred at the nitro-glycerine house, but it did not do much damage. Some men were unconscious for a short time. All around the grounds there is a little railroad which was operated by a horse that drew loaded cars with material, stock, etc., from one building to another. This horse was driven by a young man named Lee. He had just taken a car load of material to the punch house and then started in another direction to the shell house for a load of shells. While on the way the explosion occurred. The horse ran away, stepped over the side of the road bed and fell down an embankment into a creek, where he was found uninjured.
In the shell house six young girls were at work: Flora Frank, Daisy Shoff, Nellie Warfel, Edna Rice, Esther Greiner and Edith Rineer, the last named being a sister of the two Rineers killed. Two little sisters of hers were also present, having brought dinner for their father, brothers and sister. All of the girls were knocked over, and many suffered from some time from the shock.
Workers at the dynamite factory, four of these
people died in the explosion but we don't know which four.