Explosion in Chemical Laboratory
The laboratory of the Munyon Homoeopathic Remedy Company, of Philadelphia, was the scene of fire, explosion and panic, each one administered in by no means infinitesimal doses. So grave was the peril from the flames that every fire company in West Philadelphia was summoned, bringing together an extra large assemblage of crews, apparatus, police, ambulances and surgeons, the last armed with pulmotors to revive those who had inhaled the fumes of the ether and chloroform that escaped from the burned casks among which the fire started on the lower floor. The flames spread in a flash to the second and third floors. Dr. Munyon was in his office at the time. and with his staff tried to put out the flames, persevering in his operations until the heat and frequent heavy explosions drove him and his helpers out. The flames swept rapidly through the building, which was totally destroyed. The girl workers, 200 in all, fought their way desperately to the windows, as the flames had cut off all exits by stairways or doors. Overcome by the fumes, they leaped from the second story, and only the grass-grown embankment of the Pennsylvania railroad running past outside the building, saved the girls from instant death as they jumped. No lives were lost, but many of them had inhaled the noxious fumes. The firemen, also, had not been able to avoid these fumes, for which reason the pulmotors came in very handy. The total loss was about $160,000, of which $8,000 was in ether and chloroform alone. The firemen were badly handicapped by the explosives and the suffocating fumes of the chemicals, which prevented them from entering the building for a considerable time.