Man Killed Cleaning Water Tank

Man Killed Cleaning Water Tank

Alderman Herman O. Wessel of Secor, Ill., was killed and his helper severely burned while cleaning a water tank recently. The water tank had not been cleaned for some time and it was the duty of Mr. Wessel as chairman of the water board committee to see that the work was done.

The tank is a steel boiler like affair, thirty-six feet in length and eight feet in diameter, with a capacity of 6,000 gallons. Since the manhole is only fourteen by eighteen inches, it was necessary to secure a workman of small stature to scrub the inside of the tank. According to a janitor, an eye witness of the accident, Mr. Wessel tried to get some one to enter the tank, and being unable to find anyone, he descended into it himself followed by his helper. Pipes and tobacco belonging to the men were handed to them. After several attempts to light the matches by striking against the interior of the tank, one of the men put his head out of the manhole and lit a match. An explosion immediately followed.

While there is no positive knowledge of what caused the explosion, it is possible that the men engaged in cleaning the tank may have taken some volatile cleaning fluid such as gasoline in an open vessel into the tank and that the gases generated might have been set off by the striking of the match

Chief Wilcox of Toledo, O., Retired—Walter T. Wilcox veteran district chief, was retired on pension May 1. Previously Chief Wilcox had a stroke of appolexy and was unable to perform his duties.

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