Six killed in 1875 Coralville Paper Mill explosion - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Six killed in 1875 Coralville Paper Mill explosion

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CORALVILLE (KWWL) -- An explosion of chemicals in a paper mill killed six men July 22, 1875.

An article published in the Iowa City Press the next day said the explosion happened in the bleaching tank room of the Coralville Paper Mill around 9:00 p.m.  Six men died instantly when the tanks blew.

The shock could be felt across the area.  Witnesses watching a quarter mile away said they saw a red glare.  That glare helped reinforced theories that it was a chemical explosion.  Other evidence is as follows:

The straw is pulped by the use of chemicals, lime, and acids, muriatic and sulphuric.

The immense force of the explosion could not have been gathered on a fifty-pound pressure.

The explosion of more than one tank with a notable interval between, demonstrates that it could not have been steam, for when No.3 blew up it carried the main pipe with it, and cut off all boiler pressure, then how could the others have exploded?

It was gas. No.3 was more heavily charged than the others, and it exploded first and most forcibly, and the others followed in rapid succession, the gas combusting as it came in contact with the air.

Online Producer: Mike Verlo
Online Source: Gendisasters.com

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