Guardians of The City SFFD Home Page - San Francisco Fire Department Museum SFFD HomeBack to GuardiansofTheCity.org Home Page
Notable Fires:

Thomas Dye Works
August 9, 1893
Box 76 - Market and Hayes Streets
25 to 31 Tenth Street
1:15 A. M.

BENZINE BURNS.
A Tank Explodes in Dye Works.
A FIREMAN FATALLY BURNED
An Employe in a Critical Condition.
A Woman Jumps Out of an Upper-Story Window.

1893 August 9

Several firemen have been severely scorched, one man lies at the Receiving Hospital in a, critical condition, another, who is badly burned, is at the French Hospital and a woman with both ankles sprained is also at the French Hospital, all caused by a fire in the F. Thomas Dyeing Works, 25 to 31 Tenth street, yesterday forenoon.

About 11 .15 an alarm was rung from box 76. A tank of benzine in the cleaning room at the dyeworks, which is in the rear of the two-story building, exploded and the entire rear portion of the building was almost immediately in a blaze. Half a dozen engines quickly responded to the alarm and streams of water were soon playing upon the flames, but the only effect was to make them spread still further.

As soon as Chief Sullivan arrived he ordered the play of water to be stopped and five chemical engines brought into service. The chemicals soon did effective work and succeeded in confining the flames to the rear and cellar of the building.

Meantime, as it was leared (sic) that the flames might communicate to the adjacent buildings and to the other tanks of benzine in the yard they were kept deluged with water.

The water tower was early at the fire, but it was not required.

Half an hour after the alarm was sounded the fire was under control, but the firemen did not cease work for an hour afterward.

When the explosion occured (sic) Eugene Paceny, an employe (sic), was at work near the tank. As the burning benzine was thrown over him he rushed through the flames and lunged into a vat of water, which saved him from being cremated. As it was he was badly burned about the face, hands and body. He was taken to the Receiving Hospital suffering intense agony. His burns were promptly attended to, and, unless he has inhaled the flame, his recovery is probable, but this cannot be determined until to-day.

Madame Hourtain, who was at work in the upper story of the building, became so frightened on bearing the explosion and seeing the flames and the excited people on the street that she lost her presence of mind and, stepping on the window-sill, leaped to the ground, a 'distance of about twenty feet. She was taken in the patrol wagon to the French Hospital, where it was found that both her ankles were sprained. The wonder to those who saw her jump was that she was not instantly killed.

Pierre Alexander Allamond, another employe (sic) of the works, was caught in the flames and severely burned, but not dangerously. He was taken to the French Hospital.

Several firemen, in their anxiety to cope with the flames, were more or less severely scorched about the face and hands.

Assistant Chief George W. Kennard, District Engineer George; Walsh, Philip Brady, foreman of Engine 2, were among the sufferers.

Acting Foreman Hugh Kennedy of Truck 3 and Robert Schultz and Michael Sheehan, truckmen, were also among the number, besides John Cronin, John Madison, James Reed, Thomas Crow and Morris Bushway, hosemen of Engine 19. They were all able to go to their homes except Bushway, who was taken to the Receiving Hospital, where it was found he bad inhaled benzine flames, besides having his face scorched and hands badly burned. He died at 1 o'clock this morning.

The loss is not heavy, being estimated at about $1500, covered by insurance. The building is a two-story brick with brick side is running back 130 feet, but the rear is constructed of wood. No one seems able to explain just what caused the benzine to explode. The president of the company did not know how much benzine they had on band, A disastrous fire occurred in the same place on December 11 last through a similar explosion. Since then people occupying adjacent buildings have been living in the constant expectation of a repetition of the dose. They have protested against the storage of benzine on the premises, but without effect. Their protests may now have a different result.

SCENE OF THE FIRE AT THOMAS' DYE WORKS

SCENE OF THE FIRE AT THOMAS' DYE WORKS.
The cross marks the place where the three firemen were hurt.

Source: San Francisco Call, Volume 74, Number 70, 9 August 1893 — BENZINE BURNS. [ARTICLE+ILLUSTRATION]

THE DYE WORKS FIRE.

1893 August 10

The body of Eugene Dageny, the victim of Tuesday's fire in Thomas' dye works on Tenth street, was taken from the Receiving Hospital to the Morgue yesterday morning. Morris Bushway, hoseman of engine 19, was able to leave the Receiving Hospital Tuesday night. The other firemen who were scorched were all doing well yesterday. Pierre Alexandre Allemand and Mme. Hourtain are reported to be progressing favorably at the French Hospital.

Source: San Francisco Call, Volume 74, Number 71, 10 August 1893 — The Dye Works Fire. [ARTICLE]

Extracted from original sources with grammar and spelling as published.

Back to the Top