Camden Paint Factory Blows Up; 10 Feared Dead, 205 Hurt in Fire

CAMDEN, N. J., July 30 — At
least two persons were killed and
eight others were missing tonight
in a devastating fire that raged for
nine hours in the huge paint factory
of the R. M. Hollingshead Company.
A state of emergency was
declared in the city by Mayor
George Brunner after the fire,
starting with a series of explosions,
spread through the plant and to
dwellings several blocks away, driving
hundreds of families from their
As the fire was brought under
control by firemen at about 10
o'clock tonight, the eight missing,
four men and four women, were
believed dead in the vast smoldering
ruins which firemen were still
drenching with water.
The first known casualty, Raymond
Carter, 38 years old, of Collingswood,
N. J., an employe of
the factory, was blown from the
factory by one of the explosions
and died in a hospital tonight.
The second known casualty was
William Merrican, 49, a fireman of
the Camden Fire Department who
collapsed in the intense heat of the
blaze and died at a hospital of a
heart attack.
Beginning shortly after 1 P . M.
with a series of terrific explosions
that were felt for miles around, the
flames swept through the paint
factory, destroyed or badly damaged
125 near-by frame dwellings,
caused injuries to at least 205 persons,
including fifty firemen, and
resulted in property damage tentatively
estimated at $2,000,000,
Five hundred National Guardsmen
of the 157th Field Artillery
began patrolling tonight an area of
sixteen blocks from which approximately
600 persons had been evacuated.
They were on guard to prevent
efforts at pillaging the abandoned
homes and business places.
One man was arrested for looting
and was almost lynched before the
troops took charge of him.
At the height of the conflagration
late this afternoon, when eight fire
companies and 100 policemen from
Philadelphia were aiding the entire
Camden Police and Fire Departments
and numerous volunteers
from near-by New Jersey communities,
Mayor Brunner declared the
state of emergency to conserve water
for use in fighting the flames.
Appealing to large water users in
the city to shut down until the fire
could be brought under control,
Mayor Brunner assigned fifty city
employes to ride through the streets
in the northern part of the city
shouting, "Don't use water , " to all
who would listen.