Baltimore, MD Edgewood Arsenal Fire, Sept 1921


$500,000 Balitmore Blaze Puts Soldiers in Masks and Helmets as Shrapnel Bombs Explode.

Special to the New York Times.

BALTIMORE, Sept. 4. - Wearing gas masks and steel helmets to protect them from the smoke and shrapnel from thousands of bursting smoke candles and hand grenades, soldiers at Edgewood Arsenal have been fighting since early Friday evening to subdue a fire which is said to have caused $500,000 damage.

One large storage warehouse has been destroyed, with all its supplies, and for a long time two others were threatened, but at midnight the fire for the first time began to yield to the soldier fire fighters and since early this morning it has been under control.

A great quantity of phosphorous supplies had been stored in the destroyed building and it is impossible to extinguish the fire in them, so that the best the soldiers can do is to control the blaze until it has burned itself out.

Soon after the blaze broke out from some cause that has not yet been learned, the first case of the 100,000 hand grenades in the building exploded, with a heavy detonation, fragments of the grenades being showered in all directions about the building.

Within another few minutes the smoke candles began to burst. There were 40,000 candles in the building.

Every officer and man at the reservation was called to fight the fire, and it is held a great credit to the commanding officers that none was injured during the more than thirty-six hours that the blaze has been in progress.

Without the gas masks the men were unable to get anywhere in the vicinity of the building because of the dense clouds of smoke and the gas from the smoke bombs.

The New York Times, New York, NY 5 Sept 1921