Materials, Laid Last Winter, Thought to Have Been the Reason for Break—Flood of Water Damages Cudahy Packing Plant

DAMAGE to the amount of over $25,000 was done to the packing plant of the Cudahy Bros. Company at Cudahy, Wis., near Milwaukee, on December 24, at about 4 A. M., when a large reservoir containing 1,250,000 gallons of water, burst, flooding the plant. It is thought that the west wall of the reservoir, which was constructed of concrete, gave way first. The section was swept more than one hundred yards by the pressure of the tons of water behind it and demolished a box car standing on a track at that distance from the reservoir, only the wheels and the steel work of the car remaining, the wooden portion being torn to pieces and washed away. Another box car was badly damaged. The east wall fell over onto a North Western Railroad switch track.

General View of Wreckage After the Bursting of a 1,250,000-Gallon Reservoir at the Cudahy Packing Plant, Cudahy, Wis. Broken Concrete in Center Foreground Shows Corners of Reservoir, All That Was Left Standing

In the meantime the wall of water, bearing portions of the north wall of the reservoir with it, struck the new office building of the plant nearby, and tore out one corner, completely washing away the cashier’s office. The purchasing agent’s office and the real estate manager’s office were also quite badly damaged, five feet of water standing in this building for several hours. The remaining wall, that on the south, fell over onto the plant garage and the rush of water washed out a 40-foot section of the brick wall at this point and damaged eight automobiles. Three of these cars were practically wrecked. For quite a long time the yard about the plant and the basement of the buildings were covered with several feet of water and, when the flood receded, numberless fragments of concrete wall and debris was scattered in all directions.

The reservoir was 80 feet square and 30 feet high, constructed of reinforced concrete, the walls being two feet thick in some places and four in others. It had only been completed about ninety days previous to the collapse, hut it is said that some of the concrete was poured last winter, which, it has been suggested, may account for the collapse. After completion the reservoir was tested and declared capable to hold 1,350,000 gallons of water. The filling of the reservoir took place several days before the break. Only the four corners of the tank were left standing, as will be seen by the illustration on this page, the intervening walls all falling outward and being washed away. As the accident occurred in the early morning hours, there were no casualties of any kind.

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