Seventeen lives were lost, over twenty persons were more or less seriously injured—some dangerously— and property to the amount of at least $30,000 was destroyed by the explosion of some fireworks in the store of Jacob Rittenberg, in the Walker building, 440 Main street,near the business centre of the city, on the afternoon of Friday, June 21. Fortunately the pupils of the adjoining public school had left the building for their noon hour, else the death list and that of the wounded would have been at least quadrupled, as the windows of the building were shattered and received other damage which, independently of the hurts that would have been received by the flying glass, etc., would have caused a fatal panic among the pupils. Twenty-one families were burned out by the fire, which was uncontrollable from the beginning, and was prevented from spreading only by the very fine work done by the firemen. Of the seventeen lives lost none were those of firemen; all the dead were bystanders or tenants of the adjacent tenement. Some lost their lives by jumping from the windows; others were burned to death, suffocated, or crushed beneath falling walls, or perished in trying to save their families. The origin of the fire has yet to be discovered. A rigid investigation will be set on foot to see what caused the explosion, and why it was so violent.

In this connection it is stated that on June 25 Pollaro Mariano, an Italian fruit dealer at 444 Main street, Paterson, was arrested for keeping explosives in violation of a city ordinance. Mariano’s store is in the Walker flats, the scene of the holocaust on Friday week, originating in the Rittenberg store at 440 Main street. Rittenberg denies that he kept dynamite or torpedoes and blames Mariano. Fifty pounds of torpedoes were found in Mariano’s Btore by the police last Saturday.

The Phoenix fire company, of Suffolk, Va., has elected the following officers: Chief, Harvey M. Butler ; first assistant chief, Joseph Crocker; second assistant chief, William J. Farley.


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