|The Tacoma Daily Ledger, Monday, March 20, 1933
Front page headline:
TACOMA YACHT EXPLODES
Dr. E. A. RICH BADLY HURT IN GAS BLAST
$25,000 Pleasure Craft Argosy Destroyed at Slip When 1,000 Gallons of Gasoline Ignites
Owner Miraculously Rescued From Death
photo caption: The $25,000 yacht Argosy which exploded at her slip at the Tacoma yacht club yesterday and sank. Inset. Dr. E. A. Rich, owner of the craft, who was badly burned when the vessel blew up.
Exploding with a roar that was heard for blocks, the yacht Argosy, $25,000 pleasure craft of Dr. Edward A. Rich, prominent Tacoma physician and yachtsman, was completely destroyed in the Tacoma Yacht club basin yesterday afternoon and Dr. Rich was seriously burned. He was trapped in the engine room of the 54-foot cruiser and his escape from death was considered miraculous. Three other yachts were damaged by the force of the explosion and the fire which followed.
Dr. Rich was badly burned about the face, arms and back. He was taken to the Tacoma General hospital where it was announced by attending physicians that while his condition is serious it is not considered critical and his recovery is expected.
The tanks of the Argosy were filled with approximately 1,000 gallons of gasoline when the explosion occurred. Dr. Rich had just taken aboard 650 gallons of engine fuel to fill the tanks and was below decks repairing a gas line leak when the boat blew up. It is believed a spark from the electric light generator operating at the time was the cause of the explosion.
"The engine room was filled with fire," Dr. Rich told an attending doctor. "There was only a small opening left for me to crawl out of. I managed to crawl to the deck where somebody grabbed me and pulled me off the boat."
Mrs. Rich also had a narrow escape from injury, having left the yacht only moments before it exploded. The cabin of the vessel was sent skyward approximately 15 feet and other wreckage was scattered over the yacht club basin area.
When the blast occurred Mrs. Rich screamed that her husband was aboard. Allan Teitge and Wallace Hamilton, yacht club caretaker, ran to the scene and Teitge boarded the craft which was a mass of flames. He saw Dr. Rich struggling through an opening in the wrecked deck and pulled him out. Assisted by Hamilton he pulled Dr. Rich to the slip.
Teitge's brother, Jack, and Anton Martinolich, immediately began setting surrounding boats adrift.
The cruiser Nirvana, owned by Frank Graham, suffered heavy damage. Its starboard side was badly scorched and its guard rails and deckhouse windows smashed. The Arro, owned by Frost Snyder, had all its windows demolished as did the Yvojean owned by L. L. Knapp.
Most of the yacht club fleet, slips and clubhouse were threatened with destruction for a time when burning gasoline covered the water. The fireboat and a land company responded and prompt action by the firefighters kept the burning gasoline confined, however, and a general conflagration was prevented.
Allan Teitge, accompanied by Mrs. Rich, drove the doctor to the hospital in his own car. Although concious, the physician was suffering from intense pain and shock.
The Argosy burned for approximately 10 minutes before she sank beneath the water at her slip, it was reported.
It was also reported the Dr. Rich had received an offer for the Argosy and was planning to sell the ship this week. It could not be determined last night if the vessel was insured.
Dr. Rich has been active in northwest yachting circles for nearly 20 years. The Argosy was 54.4 feet long with a beam of 13.6 feet and depth of 7.3 feet. She was built in 1925 at a cost of $25,000 and was of wood construction.
The Tacoma Daily Ledger, Tuesday, March 21, 1933, Pg 1:
Prominent Tacoman, Who Was Injured in Yacht Explosion, Had Poor Day but Physicians Are Hopeful
Although his condition is now considered critical, due to minor complications, hopes are nevertheless held for the recovery of Dr. Edward A. Rich, prominent Tacoma physician and yachtsman who was burned when caught in an explosion which demolished his 54-foot cruiser Argosy at its slip at the Yacht club Sunday afternoon.
At the hospital it was reported Dr. Rich showed no improvement yesterday and is suffering not only from pain, but also severe shock. He was badly burned about the head, hands and back. The skin was burned from his hands, but attending physicians declare Dr. Rich will be able to continue his medical practice upon recovery.
Dr. Rich was rescued from inferno which enveloped his $25,000 yacht by Allan Tietge and Wallace Hamilton. Mrs. Rich had just come off the boat when it exploded. It is believed a spark from the electric generator ignited gas fumes. Dr. Rich had just filled the gas tanks of the boat with 650 gallons, bringing the total aboard up to 1,000 gallons.
Efforts were being made yesterday to salvage part of the ship which sank at its slip at the Yacht club after burning for 10 minutes. Parts of the shattered boat still float in the club basin and the broken and twisted hull can be seen at the bottom of the slip.
When the explosion occurred Dr. Rich was below decks. His escape was considered miraculous.
The Tacoma Times, Wednesday, March 22, 1933, Page 1:
PLAN FUNERAL FOR DR. RICH, BLAST VICTIM
Prominent Orthopedic Surgeon Dies in Hospital of Burns Suffered Sunday
(Picture on Page 2: Blast Victim. Dr. Edward Antoine Rich, Tacoma orthopedic surgeon who died early Wednesday following burns and shock suffered Sunday in a gasoline explosion aboard his yacht.)
Burns and shock suffered when his yacht Argosy blew up and burned at the Tacoma Yacht club basin Sunday afternoon resulted in the death Wednesday of Dr. Edward Antoine Rich, 56, prominent Tacoma orthopedic surgeon and Northwest yachtsman.
Death came at 1:10 a.m. at the Tacoma General hospital where attendants and physicians had waged a fight to save his life. The funeral, which will be held under the direction of the Buckley-King Co., will take place some time Friday.
Besides his widow, Ethelwyn Innis Rich, he is survived by three children, Edward DeMara, Richard Innis and Merrill S.; his mother, Mrs. William T. Rich of Tacoma; a sister, Mrs. Charles B. Collett in Montana; two nephews, Dr. Rich Collett, in Alaska, and George Seth Innis of Tacoma and a niece, Miss Margaret Collet, also of Tacoma.
Native of Michigan
Dr. Rich was born on Aug. 19, 1876, at Saginaw, Mich. He came to Tacoma in 1906 and since has become widely known as an orthopedic surgeon. He was educated at Hamline university, the Jefferson Medical college of Philadelphia and the University of Berlin. He also had an M.A. degree from the College of Puget Sound.
He worked for his father, a St. Paul, Minn., publisher, until he was graduated from Hamline University. He taught at the University of Minnesota before entering Jefferson Medical college and practiced medicine at Ogden, Utah for four years before going to Germany.
Served in Two Wars
During the Spanish American war he served with the Red Cross service, third division hospital at Chattanooga, Tenn., and was supervising orthopedic surgeon at Washington, D.C. in the medical department of the U.S. army from 1917 to 1920. He was discharged as a lieutenant colonel.
Since his return to Tacoma he served on the surgical staffs of the Northern Pacific, county, St. Joseph's and Tacoma General hospitals and built his own orthopedic clinic.
He was a trustee of the College of Puget Sound and president of the International Alaskan Cruising club as well as past commodore of the Tacoma Yacht club. He was a member of Tacoma Lodge No. 22, P. de A.M., York Rite Masons, Afifi Shrine, Knights Templar, Rotary, Union and University clubs and Edward B. Rhodes post, American Legion, of which he was past commander.
He was a Methodist and Republican and ran for election as state representative on the Republican ticket last fall. He lived at 2701 No. Junett St.