The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Comet (Tug), boiler explosion, 9 Nov 1889

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      The Tug COMET'S Boiler Blew Up in The Hamburg This Morning.
A terrible explosion occurred at 7:30 this morning in the Hamburg canal, near the foot of Charles Street. The tug COMET had just steamed in the canal and lay between the NELSON J. SEELEY, waiting for the slips higher up to clear, so as to tug in two boats she had in charge. The COMET had scarcely stopped before a loud report was heard, and the air was at once filled with splinters of wood and pieces of iron. The boiler had exploded and smashed the fore part of the boat into fragments.
Engineer Daniel Lagrew was at his post when the explosion occurred, and according to the statement of one of the spectators was blown 40 or 50 feet into the air. He fell into the canal near the south side and managed to keep himself afloat, and a dozen willing hands assisted him to the bank. It was found he had sustained a broken leg and arm and he was also badly bruised and scalded.
      The captain of the boat, Charles Ader, was on the deck at the time of the explosion and was also thrown into the water. His injuries were slight, amounting to a scratch on the face and a few minor bruises and scalds.
The smoke stack of the tug was blown fully 300 feet and alighted on the roof of the Grand Trunk Depot. The canal all around is covered with floating debris and the boat itself is but a shell.
The COMET belongs to the White Star Line of tugs, and is owned by Mrs. Cheney.
The center of the explosion appears to be directly under the flue sheet connecting with the boiler shell. The whole of the flue sheet is blown out and the main pipe ripped from end to end.
Over pressure was undoubtedly the cause of the explosion. The tug was fitted with a government gauge and valve.
The appearance of the wreck of the boiler is that it was worn out and overworked. A remarkable thing is that a dozen men were standing on the deck of the various canal boats around, and not a single one of these was hurt.
A report from the Emergency Hospital, where Lagrew was taken, says that in addition to injuries mentioned above, the man had received a severe scalp wound. Though seriously hurt he is not considered to be in danger.
      Buffalo Evening News
      Saturday, November 9, 1889

      The tug COMET which exploded last fall is again in commission at Buffalo.
      Port Huron Daily Times
      Wednesday, July 30, 1890

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Reason: boiler explosion
Lives: nil
Remarks: Repaired
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Geographic Coverage:
  • New York, United States
    Latitude: 42.88645 Longitude: -78.87837
William R. McNeil
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Comet (Tug), boiler explosion, 9 Nov 1889