Democrat & Chronicle
March 11, 1920
SIX MEN BADLY BURNED IN OIL PLANT EXPLOSION
Caught in Room in Vacuum Oil Plant When Escaping Fuel Oils Let Go.
Burns of Three May Be Fatal.
Six men were burned and probably fatally in an explosion at 11:25 o'clock last night at the Exchange street plant of the Vacuum Oil Company. Gaseous substances escaping from a fuel oil tank connected with the kilns for the restoration of clay used in the filtration of crude oil ignited by some unknown cause and flames shot skyward to a height of approximately 300 feet. All of the injured men were in a locker room immediately adjacent to the kiln room. The property damage will probably not exceed $500.
Those most seriously burned are:
Fred KERLEY, 29 Cady street, about 45.
Byron PETERSON, 147 Cottage street, about 50
Henry GEBO, 265 1/2 Reynolds street.
The others are:
Richard WILKINSON, 560 Seward street
Alonzo MILARD, No. 97 Hawley street
William SPEED, No. 28 Delaware avenue
The explosion occurred shortly before the morning shift in the filter and kiln building began their duties. A court approximately forty feet square separated the kiln and filter buildings and several large structures used for the storage of high fire test lubricants, the finished products of the plant. The force of the explosion swept downward and then rebounded to the sky. The flash lasted but a few moments but the intense heat broke all of the windows in the adjoining buildings and destroyed the window ___.
Two men are employed in both of the kiln and filter buildings on the night and morning shifts. The locker room is to the south of the court. The flames shot through the windows burning the men as they were changing their clothes. Some difficulty was had in accounting for all of the men.
Run With Clothes Burning
KERLEY and PETERSON ran through the passageway between the storage and filtering building with clothes burning from head to foot. The men were frantic and were shouting incoherently. There were stopped by James FITZGERALD, a watchman at the plant, and were rolled in the mud. Mr. FITZGERALD with a pair of heavy gloves pulled the clothing from the men. Only a handful of clothing was left. Mr. FITZGERALD said that the men were completely aflame.
The kiln room is used for the restoration of clay that is used in filtering and reducing crude oil. The clay is placed in large porous iron cylinders through which flames are shot. The oil and impurities that are retained in the clay in the filtration process are thus removed. The clay is then dried and again used for filtration.
Cause of Explosion Unknown.
Fuel oil is used in the restoration process. The oil is stored in a large tank constructed on the court side of the kiln building. The oil is drawn down into the burners under the cylinders. It is believed that the oil in this tank ignited and the gaseous substances prevalent between the buildings exploded. Harvey J. HUDDLETON, superintendent of the plant, said last night that it was impossible to determine at that time just what caused the explosion. He was assisted in the investigation by Police Inspector Alfred KILLIP and Baitalion Chief Hugh SMITH.
(some of this article not transcribed)
Clothing All burned Off.
Four of the injured men were removed by the ambulance of the General Hospital and two by the St. Mary's Hospital. All six men are in St. Mary's Hospital. Both KERLEY and PETERSON were hysterical when they were rolled in the mud by FITZGERALD who after the men had been removed to the hospital displayed a few burned rags which represented all of the clothing that was pulled from the men.
The burns of KERLEY, PETERSON and GEBO extended over their entire bodies. At the hospital early this morning it was said that their condition is very critical and that their recovery is very doubtful. WILKINSON, MILLARD and SPEED were burned about the head, shoulders and arms. FITZGERALD was burned about the hands, but did not go the hospital for treatment.
Full Investigation Promised.
Mr. HUDDLETON said last night that a complete investigation would be made to determine the cause of the explosion. He took charge of the care of the injured men and every possible attention was given them. The heat destroyed a large quantity of work clothing in the lockers and bent some of the iron gratings in the doors of the lockers. Only the fireproof construction of the buildings surrounding the court prevented the spread of the fire to large proportions.
Ralph ALEXANDER, who lives across the street at No. 877 Exchange, stated to a Democrat and Chronicle reporter that he had just come home from a meeting and saw the flames leap into the air and as they did so, loud rumbling noises could be heard. He said that they undoubtedly could have been heard all through the neighborhood.
Mr. ALEXANDER feared that the whole plant was burning and ____ his family to the rear of the house ready to flee at a moment's notice. He then, he said, made his way across the street and saw the two badly burned men making their way to the front entrance. The gate to the street was locked. Mr. ALEXANDER arrived and he climbed over and assisted in first aid. Mr. ALEXANDER's statement that the gate was locked and could not be opened with a key was verified when Inspector KILLIP asked one of the employees if the gate was kept locked. This workman said that the foreman kept the keys to it. psm
March 20, 1920 page 25
STATSKEY-At the home of her son, Charles STATSKEY, on Whiting road, Friday morning, March 19, 1920, Eleanora STATSKEY, aged 74 years. She leaves her son, Charles; nine grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Funeral from the home of her son, Charles STATSKEY, Monday, March 22, 1920 at 2 P.M. Interment at Webster Rural cemetery. Services private.
CLEMENT-At his residence, No. 46 Lorimer street, Thursday evening, March 18, 1920, Frank H. CLEMENT, aged 76 years. He is survived by his wife, Lovisa KNAPP, son Benjamin H., a daughter Mary G. _______six grandchildren, also a cousin _____BURROUGHS LELLARDY and her daughter. Funeral from the family residence Saturday afternoon at 2:30 o'clock. Burial at the convenience of the family. Interment in Mt. Hope cemetery.
MILLIGAN-Entered into rest, at the home of her brother, Friday, March 19, 1920, Martha MILLIGAN. She leaves two brothers, Augustus J. and F. W. MILLIGAN, one sister, Nettie MILLIGAN; four nieces and two nephews. The remains have been removed to Rankin Bros. No. 771 Main street west from where the funeral will take place Monday afternoon at 3 o'clock. Interment at Riverside. Burial private.
WELLS-At her home in Mt. Kisco, N.Y., suddenly, Thursday, March 18, 1920, Frances HULL BREWSTER, wife of Cyrus CAMPBELL WELLS, aged 55 years. Funeral service at the chapel in Mt. Hope cemetery on Saturday afternoon at 3 o'clock.
QUINN-Entered into rest, March 19, 1920, at 169 Maryland street, John W. QUINN. He is survived by two brothers, Thomas QUINN of Leed's, England and Jeffrey QUINN of this city; two sisters, Mrs. Frank E. OSLER and Mrs. George H. Williams both of _____. Funeral will take place Monday morning at 9 o'clock from the home and at Holy Rosary Church at 9:15 o'clock. Interment in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery.
HUBRIGHT-Anna, wife of Henry HUBRIGHT, died at their home in Ontario, N.Y. Thursday afternoon, March 18, 1920. She leaves her husband, four daughters, Mrs. Darwin WHITCOMB, Mrs. Lewis WHITTLETON or Walworth, N.Y., Mrs. Fred WHITCOMB of Webster, N.Y., and Mrs. Anna UNDERWOOD on Ontario; three sons, Albert, John and Andrew of Ontario, thirty-five grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. . Funeral service from the home Sunday, March 21st at 2 P.M. Interment at Furnaceville cemetery.
HILL-At her residence, No. 131 East avenue, Friday March 19, 1920 Emily ____HILL, widow of John Hercles HILL. Notice of funeral hereafter. Please omit flowers.
HOMER-In this city, Friday March 19, 1920, at the home of his daughter, Mrs. H. H. BAKER, 301 (?) Lake avenue, John Lockwood HOMER of Buffalo, N.Y., aged 74 years. He leaves one son, Ray T. HOMER of New York; two daughters, Mrs. C. C. ALBERTSEN of Brooklyn, N.Y., and Mrs. H. H. BAKER. Funeral from the residence of M.F. Windsor, 703 West Ferry street, Buffalo, N.Y. Monday at 2:30 P.M.
O'CONNOR-In this city on March 19, 1920, Thomas F. O'CONNOR. He is survived by two sons, Gerald J. and Thomas J; three daughters, LeClaire, Geraldine and Katheleen. Notice of funeral hereafter.
MELOY-George MELOY, son of John and Mande BRANCH MELOY died Friday morning at the family home, 223 Weddale way, aged 4 years and 8 months. He is survived by his parents, two brothers, three sisters. Funeral will take place this Saturday afternoon at 3 o'clock from 52 Cumberland street. Interment in Holy Sepulchre cemetery. Funeral private. psm
Democrat & Chronicle
March 25, 1920
THIRD VICTIM OF EXPLOSION SUCCUMBS
Byron Peterson Dies of Burns Received.
The death of Byron PETERSON, the third victim to succumb to injuries sustained in the explosion at the Vacuum Oil Company's plant in Exchange street, occurred yesterday afternoon at St. Mary's Hospital. The accident happened on March 10th. Six men were horribly burned. Coroner KILLIP had the body removed to the morgue. There are three other victims of the accident at St. Mary's Hospital. Their condition are reported as favorable but they are not out of danger. PETERSON and five fellow workers were caught in a locker room when fumes at the plant exploded.
RETIRED PHYSICIAN DIES
Dr. John W. DODSON Succumbs to Apoplectic Attack.
The death of Dr. John W. DODSON, a retired physician, occurred yesterday afternoon at his home, No. 251 Berkeley street. Dr. DODSON was 55 years old and retired ten years ago because of poor health. Prior to his retirement he practiced his profession in Brockport for ten years. He ____ in Rochester ___.
Dr. DODSON was a graduate of the University of the City of New York. He leaves his wife, Ethel M. DODSON, two sons, J. Martin and George W. DODSON, and a brother D. H. DODSON of Angelica. Death was due to apoplexy. Coroner KILLIP granted a certificate.
CERTIFICATES ARE GRANTED
Deaths or Two Babies and Man Held to Be Natural.
A certificate of natural death was granted yesterday afternoon by Coroner David H. ATWATER in the case of Joseph TRACEY, 2 years old, of No. 46 Clinton avenue north, who died suddenly on Tuesday.
Coroner ATWATER also granted a certificate of natural death in the case of George CUCCI, aged 3 months, a son of Mr. and Mrs. John CUCCI, who died suddenly on Tuesday at his home, No. 81 Whitney street.
An autopsy on the body of Charles DIETRICH, 28 years old, of No. 47 Caprn street, who died on Monday night soon after being admitted to St. Mary's hospital revealed death to have been from natural cause. Coroner KILLIP will issue a certificate. psm
March 26, 1920, page 37
CARD-In Rochester, Thursday, March 23, 1920, Mrs. Mary A. BRIGHAM CARD, wife of George C. CARD. Besides her husband, she leaves one son, Ben B. CARD of Portland, Ore., two daughters, Mrs. R. S. ME___ALDE, of Seattle, Wash., and Mrs. W. R. SWARTZ of Everell, Wash and seven grandchildren and one sister, Mrs. F. W. BROWER of Spencerport and one brother, Henry M. BRIGHAM of Brooklyn, N.Y. Funeral from the Congregational Church, Spencerport, Sunday afternoon at 3 o'clock, Rev. Peter BURRELL officiating. Interment in the family lot in Fairfield cemetery, Spencerport. psm