Jersey City, NJ Fireworks Factory Explosion & Fire, Oct 1895

Roman Candles Exploded

Two Men and Four Boys Injured and One of the Latter Will Die.

A Rammer Was Dropped On Powder

It Should Have Dropped on Clay, but a Packer Made a Blunder-Two Buildings Burned-Property loss Small.

Jersey City, N.J., Oct. 2.-Six persons were injured this afternoon by an explosion of Roman Candles in the fireworks factory of Detwiller & Street, in West Side Avenue, near the Morris Canal. One of the injured will die.

The Injured.

Following in the list:
BECKER, WILLIAM, sixteen years old; 132 Walker Avenue; burned and bruised about the head and chest will probably die.
FALKE, CARL, eighteen years old; 34 Gray Street; badly burned.
KRAKOW, HERMAN, forty years old; 151 Cator Avenue; hand burned.
LAIBOLD, NICHOLAS, thirty-five years old; 42 Girard Avenue; badly burned.
MOUNT, CLIFFORD, sixteen years old; 43 Bergen Avenue; badly burned.
NELSON, ERNEST, seventeen years old; 32 Forty-sixth Street, Bayonne; badly burned.

Krakow’s carelessness caused the explosion. He escaped with the least injury. He went home. Beckel, for whose recovery there is almost no hope, was taken to Christ Hospital. The others, who are badly burned about the body, were taken to the City Hospital.

The building in which the explosion occurred was a frame structure, 12 by 20, one story high. It was sued for making roman candles. There were four men packing candles, each man having a boy helper.

The candles are packed by machinery. Krakow inadvertently put some powder in a case, instead of the clay which should have formed the base. When the rammer descended upon the powder, which was deposited upon the iron table, without the clay underneath, it exploded.

Young Beckel, who was helping him, received the full charge in the face.

The flames spread among the powder, and the little building was wrapped in flames so quickly that all the other were badly burned in making their escape.

The building was filled with roman candles, and the calls from these set fire to another frame building in which the stars for the candles were made, and that, too, was destroyed.

There are fifty-three other buildings on the grounds, but they are all of brick, and none of them took fire.

The money damage is trifling. Finance Commissioner Detwiller of this city is one of the owners of the buildings.

The New York Times, New York, NY 3 Oct 1895