THE OAKFORD PARK DAM FAILURE.
On Sunday, July 5. from fifty to seventy-five men. women, and children perished by the bursting of a dam at Oakford Park, near Jeannette, Pa. The majority were drowned, or their lives were beaten out against the rocks in Brush creek; but quite a number were electrocuted. At least 800 persons were at the park seeking relief from the heat. When the rain storm burst, the greater number sought the hillsides, preferring the shelter of the forest to the park buildings, because they did not care to be below the level of the dam. and little above the dry season level of Brush creek. When the dam broke, a solid wall of water twenty feet high rushed down and completely filled the narrow ravine, with its car tracks, car barn and restaurant. In front of the car barn stood a car containing from fifty to seventy passengers. With the immense body of water behind it, the crest of the flood bore down with irresistible force. As it swept down the narrow ravine, it carried with it the loaded street car and the crowded restaurant. The flood was filled with men, women, and children struggling for their lives. The poles carrying the heavily charged trolley wires were uprooted and strewn on the ground. In a number of instances—how many is not yet known— the victimes of the flood, grasping for anything that might save them from thea fury of the water, seized the trolley wires, and met death by being electrocuted, instead of being drowned. Torrents of rain began to fall at three o’clock and spread over some ten miles of territory. Half an hour later the waters in the lake north of the park began to rise, on which the manager and another man, believing there was danger of the dam breaking, began to hurry the people out of danger, and cleared the buildings. Within thirty minutes the waters overflowed the wall of the dam, and within five minutes water seven feet deep was flowing over the entire length of 400 feet of the wall. The park buildings, the merry-go round, and other amusement places were twisted about, and alt but the dancing pavilion and lunch stand were knocked from their foundations. The rain continued to fall in awful torrents, and about four o’clock forty feet of the wall of the dam to the east gave way with an awful crash. The flood beat down the ravine with a roar that was heard for two miles A half-mile down, at the junction of the Greensburg and Jeannette and the park car lines, the car barns are located. The entrance gates to the park were lifted and, with the force of a pile driver, the mammoth posts were hurled by the waters against the bam. Beyond were located the small waiting rooms, and on the track was standing a car laden with people on their way from Greensburg and Jeannette. The electric storm had rendered the power south of there useless, and the motorman was unable to move the car.