Chicago, IL Fireworks Factory Explosion, June 1897


A Chicago Factory Destroyed and Many People Injured -- All Glass in the Neighborhood Broken.

Chicago, June 8 -- A match carelessly dropped by one of the workmen in the fireworks factory of M. SHURE, at West Van Buren and Halstead Streets, cause a terrible explosion a few minutes after 6 o'clock to-night.

Many of the workmen had gone home, but a number of the employes were badly hurt, and the flying rockets and candles struck several people who were passing. The explosion demolished nearly all the windows in the block and the SHURE building, which is a four-story structure, was badly damaged. Immediately following the explosion the building was ablaze from cellar to roof, and the Fire Department had a desperate struggle before it succeeded in extinguishing the flames. The building was almost entirely destroyed, and the stock is a total loss.

The explosion caused a panic in that portion of the town, and the wildest stories were current regarding the number of killed and wounded. It happened at a time when the street was crowded with people on their way to their homes. The flying missiles from the factory struck a number of persons, and one man, who was gazing into a store window, fully 400 feet distant, had his attention suddenly attracted to other matters by a rocket, which hit him squarely in the back. He fell to the sidewalk, unconscious, and was carried to the hospital before he was able to give his name. The majority of those injured have received but trifling hurts. The loss is estimated at $60,000.

The New York Times 1897-06-09