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Fire Engine Explosion

Explosion

Fire Engine Explosion, 1868

Engraving: Frank Leslies; July 4, 1868

The new steam fire engines developed around the middle of the 19th century were a vast improvement over hand powered models, but they sometimes malfunctioned with disastrous results.

On the evening of June 18, Fire Engine Company No. 9 from East Broadway was called to a fire opposite the Bowery Theatre. The fire was put out without difficulty, but just as theater crowds went into the street during intermission, the boiler of this steam engine exploded, hurling scalding water and metal fragments into the air over a wide area. The disaster left five dead and 22 injured.

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This Fire Engine Explosion image is part of the "Vintage New York" exhibit, created by the New Rochelle Council on The Arts (NRCA); Thea Eichler, Program Chairman; with the assistance a grant from the Michael and Helen Schaffer Foundation. © All images in this exhibit are the property of their respective copyright holders, and may not be reproduced without permission.

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