New York, NY Fireworks Explosion at Madison Square, Nov 1902



Several Brooklynites Among the Victims of the Awful Disaster -- Mayor Demands Thorough Investigation.

A searching investigation will be made into the causes of the fireworks explosion at Madison Square, Manhattan, last night with a view of ascertaining who was responsible for the awful disaster. Mayor LOW said this morning: "The matter will be thoroughly investigated and I will recomment that the fireworks displays be placed placed under the jurisdiction of the commission which now has charge of the explosives in the city. This recommendation will be made to the Board of Alderman probably next week."
The Municipal Explosive Commission was crated as a result of the explosion in the Tarrant drug house a few years ago and the frequent explosionss along the subway, notably the one which wrecked the Grand Union and Murray Hill Hotels. The commission was appointed by Mayor LOW a few months ago.
The preliminary inquest into the cause of the explosion of fireworks in Madison Square, last night, was begun in Coroner SCHOLER'S court, in the Criminal Court Building, Manhattan, at 11 o'clock to-day. The ten prisoners who had been arrested and remanded to the Coroner from the Jefferson Market police court were taken before the Coroner shortly after 10 o'clock. The charge against them was homicide. The men were: J. GREIG, foreman, 35 years old, Church avenue, Brooklyn; laborers and helpers, CHARLES S. HARNUS, 40 years old, Sheepshead Bay; WILLIAM RIDLEY, 16 years old, 516 Sixteenth street, Brooklyn; ALFRED LISTMAN, 27 years old, Parkville, Brooklyn; FRANK LISTMAN, 24 years old, Greenfields, L. I.; JOSEPH FULLAM, 18 years old, 11 Windsor place, Brooklyn; JOHN STARUM, 19 years old, Rives place, Brooklyn; EDWARD SMITH, 16 years old, 566 Sixteenth street, Brooklyn; HERMAN WATTJER, 25 years old, Lewis avenue, Brooklyn, and ALFRED SCHWARTZ, 362 Fulton street, Brooklyn.
The inquiry was begun by the examination separately of the prisoners. Assistant District Attorney SCHURMAN looked after the case from the office of MR. JEROME. The prisoners are all employes of the Pain Manufacturing Company at 12 Park place, Manhattan. They were represented by Lawyers WILLIAM J. KELLY, 128 Broadway; A. GARDNER, Park Row building, and L. J. CARRUTHERS, 128 Broadway, Manhattan, who had been retained by the employing firm.
Polce Captain WALSH of the "Tenderloin" station, and half a dozen detectives were in charge of the prisoners.
CHARLES HARNUS and WILLIAM RIDLEY were the first to be examined and told of the scenes attending the explosion as they had witnessed them.
Pitiful Scenes at the Bellevue Morgue.
Relatives Searching for Missing Ones.
A pitiful scene was enacted at the Bellevue Morgue this morning by women, men and chldren who had gathered there in an attempt to identify the bodies there of the victims of the fireworks explosion.
As each body was brought out to the view of those looking for a lost relative, a cry of horror would go up from the woman at the sight of the mutilated corpse and in cases where an identification was made the identifier, if a woman, generally fainted.
The fainting women added to the confusion in the death house and the orderlies of the hospital had hard work to keep the crowd from trampling on one another.
It is estimated that by 9 o'clock over five hundred people had visited the morgue, but it was noticed, however, that most of those came merely to satisfy a morbid curiosity.
Little boys and girls of tender years gazed at corpses torn and rent asunder by the explosion and viewed sights that would sicken a grown person. Several women in the Morgue fainted at the sight of some of the bodies and the air resounded with their cries and sobs as they wandered from one spot to another.
Three bodies remained unidentified, but the crowd seemed just as large and every one questioned said they were looking for some relative who was missing.
Seven Legs Amputated and Many Other Operations at Bellevue.
Never in the history of Bellevue Hospital were there so many difficult operations to save life as were performed this morning by the surgeons and physicians of the regular and visiting staffs. Seven legs were amputated at about the same time, early in the morning, to say nothing of dozens of minor operations on hands and feet, cleansing and dressing of body wounds, treatments of burns and similar surgical work going on at the same time in neighboring surgical wards.
Many patients were obliged to undergo several operations. Not only were legs amputated, but hands on the same patients were taken off. When finally the victims of the Madison Square disaster left the operating tables to go to the wards, they were bandaged from head to foot in most cases.
The discipline of the great hospital was excellent. There was no hurry or bustle in the crowded wards: only the methodical working out of a system which knows no reasonable limit to its capacity.
Four Victims of the Explosion Live in the Eastern District.
Four of those who were injured live in the Eastern District and all had gone to Manhattan with the intention of viewing the fireworks display and receiving the election returns. At 101 Marcy avenue, where FRANK WILSON, 22 years old, and his cousin, HELEN ADAMS, 12 years old, live, it was said that reports had been received from St. Vincent's and New York hospitals, where they now are, that they were improving and would recover from their injuries. Young WILSON left home early last night to take his cousin to view the spectacle, and, as far as his relatives know, the injuries to both consist mainly of bruises received in the panic which followed the explosin. WILSON made a desperate attempt to get his cousin through the struggling mass, but both were knocked down and trampled on by the terror stricken mob.
EDWARD MELCHENSKY, 7 years old, and his older brother, WILLIAM, of 120 North Fourth street, are in the New York Hospital suffering from severe burns, and reports received by their relatives show their condition to be serious.
A Morbid Crowd Visits the Scene in Madison Square.
A morbid crowd of hundreds of persons gathered around the scene of the firewroks[sic] explosion at Twenty-fourth street and Madison avenue, Manhattan, this morning, some of them having remained there all night, wandering from one pool of blood to the other and making various comments of the cause of the fatal disaster.
The street and gutters presented a sickening spectacle. Scattered around, about five feet apart, were numerous pools of blood, which had gushed from the wounds of the injured, and, the police say, these grewsome[sic] spots will have to remain there until viewed by the coroner.
Noticeable among the crowd were groups of young girls who giggled and laughed and gave little screams as they poked around in the horrible pools with sticks. Men, soem of them very well dressed, seemed to take a delight in turning over pieces of flesh, lying in the gutters, with their walking canes, and holding lengthy discussions with each other as to what part of the body this or that piece of flesh had come from.
Thw two policemen, Patrolmen PERIGO and BROST, of the West Thirtieth street station, who were detailed to keep the crowd moving, had their hands full. They literally had to push the crowd away from the bloody patches in the asphalt pavement, which seemed to attract the crowd greatly.
Big Hole in Pavement Shows Terrific Force of Explosion.
FOr two blocks north and south of Twenty-fourth street and Madison avenue, where the explosion occurred, could be seen several holes and dents in the pavement that had been made by the flying pieces of bombs and mortars. On the spot where the explosion occurred, on the park side of the avenue, was a big hole and a pile of sand, showing the terrific force with which the bombs had exploded. Directly in the rear of the hole was a tree, surrounded by an iron railing. On the railing hung four boys' bicycle caps, torn and rent. This tree was the center of attraction, and the boys' caps were the object of much discussion by the crowd.
In the pile of sand were several mortars and pieces of bombs which were watched over by Fireman HARVEY, of Fire Engine No. 16. He was stationed there as a precaution against any further explosion, as some of the bombs are believed to sill contain gunpowder.
Several feet north of the explosion spot was another pile of broken mortars and exploded bombs. Some of the bombs are of the largest size and present a formidable appearance.
In a big pool of blood, close to the pile of sand, was a large piece of paper. This seemed to very much interest a well dressed woman, who formed one of the early morning crowd.
She tried for some time to turn it over with her foot, which was encased in a shapely patient leather shoe, and did not seem to mind when some of the blood stained the leather. One of the policemen finally noticed what she was doing and ordered her away from the spot, saying that he could not imagine how any on could be so morbid as to do what she had done. The woman's face flushed at the policeman's words and she quickly hurried down the avenue.
Large Pieces of Human Flesh Lying in the Gutter.
In the gutter on the southeast corner of Twenty-fourth street and Madison avenue where[sic] several pieces of human flesh about the size of a man's hand. Men, women and girls seemed to take a morbid delight in turning these over with their feet.
The handsome residences near the scene of the explosion suffered greatly. Perhaps the one presenting the most battered appearance was that of DAVID W. BISHOP, 11 Madison avenue, which was directly opposite the spot where the explosion occured. Nearly every window in the front of the house was broken and the massive brown stone stoop was chipped and scarred in scores of places. The stoop is very high and has several broad steps on it. These were spattered with blood, the bottom step being an almost bright red color from it. On the top step, which is very broad, was a big pool of blood. On the pieces of glass that remained in the window sashes on the first floor were spots of blood and even on the parlor shades dark red stains could be seen. The green ivy on the frount of the house looked as if some on had emptied a pot of red paint on it so discolored was the ivy from the spatters of blood. The reason for this is that the stoop was crowded when the explosion took place, with people who wanted to get a close view of the display.
One of the effects of the explosion, which was commented on by the crowd as a peculiar coincidence, was the breaking of three windows in the Hotel Bartholdi, on the Twenty-third street side. Proprietor ROBLEE of the hotel lost one of his sons by the explosion and his hotel is the only building on Twenty-third street that was damaged.
The grass in the park by its trampled on appearance gives a good idea of what the size of the crowd must have been last night. The turf is damaged almost beyond repair and will have to be replaced by new sod in several places. Piles of broken tin horns can be seen all over the square and torn banners and flags are included among the relics of last night's celebration.
Unexploded Fireworks Held by the Police for Evidence.
At the West Thirtieth street station house is a large bunch of unexploded fireworks which will be used for evidence.
Coroner SCHOLER said this morning that he would hold a formal inquest into the disaster on Friday. The inquest will be held in the coroners' court.

The following is the revised list of the dead:
Body No. 1 -- Patrolman DENNIS SHEA of the Bridge police. Piece of iron seven inches long by nine inches in width penetrated his heart. Skull fractured.
Body No. 2 -- WILLIAM R. VARCLE, 15 years old, of 121 Pitt street, Manhattan. Body badly mutilated.
Body No. 3 -- NATHANIEL DINGLEY, 13 years old, of 113 East Thirty-fourth street, Manhattan.
Body No. 4 -- HAROLD ROBLEE, 12 years old, son of MILTON ROBLEE, proprietor of the Bartholdi Hotel, Manhattan. Top of head blown off. Arm cut off.
Body No. 5 -- JOSEPH HABER, 21 years old, cigarmaker, of 541 Fifth street, Manhattan; identified by his brother, MAX HABER. Body badly mutilated.
Body No. 6 -- Unidentified man, 20 years old, brown hair and eyes, five feet eight inches tall, weight, 140 pounds, black flannel sacque suit, with white stripes. Head an body crushed.
Body No. 7 -- ALBERT KAEMTF, JR., clerk, 18 years old, of 219 Fifth street, Manhattan; identified by his father, ALBERT C. KAEMTF. Skull crushed and internal injuries.
Body No. 8 -- WILLIAM GOLDRICK FEENEY, 12 years old, schoolboy, 330 Fourth avenue, Manhattan; identified by Major WILLIAM H. BUCK. Fractured skull, lacerated brain and abdominal injuries.
Body No. 9 -- WILLIAM S. McAVERY, 16 years old, of 1018 Avenue A, Manhattan; clerk; identified by father of same address; both legs almost blown off and body mutilated.
Body No. 10 -- CONCIELLO GEPPRENTO, 26 years old, died in Bellvue an hour after admission; skull fractured and left leg blown off; address not given.
Body No. 11 -- GEORGE LAUDAU, 20 years old, of 288 East Houston street; identified by pay envelope in pocket; died soon after admission to Bellevue; abdomen torn and head crushed.
Body No. 12 -- Unidentified boy, 15 years old, light complexion and hair, height, five feet; weight, 130 pounds. Legs blown off. Head crushed.
List of the Injured
The following is the revised list of the injured:
ADAMS, MISS HELENE, 12 years old; lacerations of leg and shock.
ADAMS, HENRY, 22 years old; right leg severely injured.
ALLAGAN, CHARLES, 35 years old; fracture of the skull, may die.
BOSS, CHARLES, 18 years old.
BARNUM, LEWIS, electrician, 23 years old; compound fracture of leg.
BALSON, GEORGE, clerk; condusions.
BEADLE, WILLIAM; right leg amputated.
BLAKEY, ROBERT, 25 years old, clerk; right leg severely injured.
BURNS, WILLIAM, 26 years old, marble cutter; right leg injured.
CANILLO, JOSEPH; stomach cut.
CORRIGAN, JOSEPH, 27 years old; internal injuries, serious.
COYLE, EDWARD; head and body cut.
DAVIS, THOMAS, 49 years old; injured about head and body.
DOMINIC, ANGELO, 24 years old; compound fracture of right leg, bruises and burns on body, serious.
DOYLE, EDWARD, 11 years old; contusions.
DEY, FLORENCE, 19 years old; severe laceration of right side and hysteria.
DONOHUE, DANIEL; internal.
DONIGER, JACOB; leg and arm cut.
ECKHARDT, CHARLES, 23 years old, gas fitter; injury to right leg.
FARRELL, JOHN, 26 years old; right leg broken.
GLADWIN, CHARLES, champion snow shoe runner of the world; leg broken.
HAUBRICK, JOHN, 23 years old; contusions of legs.
HOLLINGWOOD, F. M.; right leg blown off at knee.
HICKEY, DAVID, 24 years old; arm cut.
HILLIARD, M.; scalp wound.
IVERSON, MIMI; contusioins of leg and body.
JACOBS, TONY, 20 years old; scalp wound.
JACQUES, WILLIAM; lacerated wound of leg, unconscious.
JACKSON, WILLIAM, 18 years old; head and body injured.
JOHNSON, WILLIAM; wound in groin.
KELLER, WILLIAM, 26 years old; contusions of head, legs and arms.
KELLY, JAMES, 29 years old, porter, Columbia Hotel; punctured wound groin.
LEONARD, MICHAEL, 21 years old; left arm injured.
LIBERMAN, LOUIS, 18 years old; lacerated leg, burns of face and hands, not serious.
LAMBRES, JOHN, 19 years old; burns on hands and face.
LUDWIG, FREDERICK; hand injured.
LOEB, JACOB; internal.
LAUER, THEODORE, 25 years old; contusions of body.
McGEER, 23 years old; leg hurt.
MILKER, SAMUEL, 16 years old; compound fracture of leg, bruises and burns, serious.
MELCHENSKY, EDWARD, 7 years old; burned, not serious.
MELSHENSKY, WILLIAM, 46 years old; burns, not serious.
MARTINEZ, JOHN, laborer, 17 years old; wound of thigh, not serious.
MILT, SAMUEL, 23 years old; leg bruised.
MEYERS, DAVID, 20 years old; left leg injured.
McAROIN, JOHN; hand injured.
MALLEY, WILLIAM, 10 years old; contusions of face, hands and body, both arms broken; serious.
McGEE, NICHOLAS, policeman, 22 years old; right leg cut and bruised. Was erroneously reported dead.
McNEVINS, WILLIAM; skull fractured, serious.
OLGAR, CHARLES; left leg broken.
O'CONNOR, FRANK, 14 years old; severe contusions of body.
REGAN, MICHAEL, policeman, 42 years old; severely lacerated on back, shock, likely to die.
RAY, CHARLES, policeman of health squad, 42 years old; fractured leg, shoulder, will recover.
REIM, CHARLES, 18 years old; fracture of arm.
RITZ, GEORGE; fracture ofleg, scalp wounds.
ROSENBERG, DAVID, 18 years old; bruised head, shoulders and body.
RUSH, BERNARD; wounds, head and left leg, severe cuts.
SINES, FRED, 46 years old; lacerated thigh, not serious.
SNYDER, P. J., 27 years old; contusions of head and body.
SCHAEFER, JOSEPH, 16 years old, clerk; compound fracture left leg, wound right leg, bruises and burns on body and face, serious.
STARR, NORA, 10 years old; right foot blown off.
SARACCO, JOHN, 42 years old; left leg amputated at the knee.
SMITH, EDWARD; left arm burned.
SHEPARD, JOHN, nurse at Bellevue; general contusions.
STILLER, GEORGE, policeman, bridge squad; fracture of leg and shoulder.
TULLY, ROBERT, 23 years old; severe scalp wound.
VOGEL, JOSEPH, 21 years old; contusions of head.
VANUM, SAMUEL, 38 years old; right ankle broken.
WARREN, MAE; internal injuries.
WAGNER, ANDREW, city marshal; found unconscious.
WALKER, SAMUEL; slight injuries.
WILSON, F. V., 22 years old; lacerations of both legs, bruises, burns on body, face and hands; very serious.
WORTH, ALFRED W.; body and legs bruised and burned, very severe.
ZINZENTELLE, LORENZ, 34 years old; lacerations of leg; not serious.
Unknown Man, 30 years old; internal, lacerations and burns, very serious, will probably die.
Unknown Man; left leg amputated.
Unknown Man, 30 years old; severe abdominal lacerations.
Unknown Man, 35 years old, colored; possible fracture of skull; serious.
The only occupant of the Bishop house when the explosion took place was FREDERICK THOUROT, the housekeeper, the family being away in the country. He could not be found this morning, but it is said he was not injured by the accident.
Two Patients in St. Vincent May Have to Suffer Amputation.
The four persons injured in the explosion of bombs, who were taken to St. Vincent's Hospital, were said this afternoon to be doing as swell as could be expected. The physicians fear, however, that two of the patients will have to suffer amputation. These are SAMUEL MILKER, who has a compound fracture of the leg, beside being badly burned, and JOSEPH SCHAEFER, of 257 West Fouorteenth street, Manhattan, who is similarly injured. The decision as to whether their lives can be saved without resorting to the knife will probably be determined later in the day.
Injured Ones Getting Along Well at the New York Hospital.
Those injured in last night's fatality in Madison Square who were taken to the New York Hospital were said to be getting along excellently this afternoon, and the attending physicians anticipate no fatal or serious results.
The unknown man, who was admitted suffering from lacerations and burns, has been identified as ALFRED JABURECK, 30 years old, of 551 Brook avenue, the Bronx.
The man whose name has heretofore been given as LORENZ ZINZENTEILE, of 233 East Thirty-fifth street, is really LORENZ VIZELTINIA.

The Brooklyn Eagle New York 1902-11-05