CRUSHED TO DEATH IN A GOODS ELEVATOR

The Hanratty monument in the first Catholic section has a poignant memorial above the inscription. Two angels are supporting a woman whose eyes are raised and hands are clasped in prayer. Perhaps the angels represent the two young daughters of James and Mary Hanratty – Kathleen who was only 6 months old when she died in 1899, and Kitty, only 5 weeks old when she died in 1905. Worse was to come for the family though – James died in a ghastly accident at work in 1913, crushed by a goods lift.

CRUSHED TO DEATH.IN A GOODS ELEVATOR. A shocking accident, resulting in the death of James Hanratty, head storeman, occurred at the Victoria Street bulk store of Messrs. E. W. Mills and Co. at about 10.45 a.m. yesterday. A large 3-ton electric goods elevator, about 8 feet square, runs through the building. The lift merely consists of a square wooden platform, connected with runners on each side, and is used to convey all the bulk goods stored above the ground floor, through different floors. Hanratty had just brought down a number of casks of plaster of Paris from the top floor, which were to be taken away in a cart which was backed into deposition near the lift well. To make the connection in order to run the casks directly into the cart, the unfortunate man stopped the lift when its floor was about four foot from the bottom, and bridged the space between the lift and the cart, with a board, on which he rolled the casks down. He was so engaged when, by some means or other, the lift commenced to ascend, and Hanratty was caught between the top of the lift well opening, and the floor of the moving elevator, and was crushed badly about the chest and abdomen. He was heard by the driver of the cart to groan “I’m done!” and almost immediately afterwards the man died. No one could for a time get at the lever to drop the lift and so release his body. An employee, Mr. Charles Perry, slid down the lift well, but could not get the lift to work owing to something having been thrown out of gear by the stoppage of the lift whilst the power was still on. It was only after strenuous efforts on the part of Mr. Archibald-Forbes, the manager of the department, that the lift was lowered sufficiently to allow of the release of the body half-an-hour after the accident. Mr. W. T. Bray, secretary for Messrs. Arthur Cock sandCo.. wholesale opticians, whose offices are on the first, floor of the building, heard the thud and an unusual noise made by the lift gear. On looking down the well he saw Hanratty’s position, and opining that something serious had happened he rushed downstairs and found Hanratty dead in the lift, at once ran off to summon medical assistance, and Drs.Begg, Fyffe, and Ewart were soon on the spot. Hanratty has been in the employ of Messrs. E. W. Mills for about a quarter of a century and was regarded as a careful, steady, and reliable man. The deceased, who was about 48 years of age, had resided at Wadestown for over 20 years and was a member of the local school committee. He leaves a wife, three sons, and a daughter.Dominion 6 February 1913

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