|Eliza Furnace, Pittsburgh, PA|
On the 16th of January, 1907, a horrific explosion took place at the Eliza Furnace of the Jones & Laughlin steel works in Pittsburgh. Molten metal rained down on everything and everyone within a 40-foot radius of the furnace, causing unimaginably gruesome injuries to the 35 men who were employed at the furnace. The bodies of more than a dozen men were never recovered, and it is generally believed that these unfortunate steelworkers were "melted" beneath six feet of molten metal. According to the deputy coroner, one victim's injuries were so excruciatingly painful that the young man threw himself into a vat of liquid steel just to put an end to the nightmare.
The following account of the accident appeared in the January 17, 1907, edition of the Cameron County Press:
Were Melted in Liquid Steel
Pittsburg, Pa.-- Partial investigation to ascertain the number of fatalities that occurred at the Eliza furnace of the Jones & Laughlin Steel Co. Wednesday night, when an accumulation of gas exploded, bursting the base of the furnace and showering tons of molten metal over about 40 men, was completed last night and shows that the bodies of 12 men, horribly mutilated, have been recovered. From 15 to 20 men are missing, it being generally believed their bodies were consumed by the hot metal, and ten men are in hospitals terribly burned, four of them expected to die.
It is doubtful whether the number of men killed will ever be known. From present indications over 15 men were caught like rats in a trap by the fiery metal, which flowed over their bodies to a depth of six feet. No trace of them, it is said, will ever be found. Of the dead bodies now in the morgue, several are minus arms, legs and head.
The condition of the injured is pitiful. A number of the men have their eyes burned out and others were so badly injured that amputations of arms and limbs were necessary. A gruesome story is told by Deputy Coroner Laidley, who says that one foreigner, apparently a youth, became crazed by his injuries and before he could be prevented leaped into a pot of molten metal and was incinerated.