OLD HAND GRENADE EXPLODES.
After lying hidden and inactive for forty-five years behind a steel door in a forgotten secret closet in the basement of the old Custom House, now being remodeled for business purposes by a Manhattan banking company, some 150 old handgrenades or bombs, brought there for the defence of the building, in case of attack during the draft riots of 1862, in Civil war times, were discovered by workmen employed on the task. The bombs were at once removed to the office of the bureau of combustibles at hire headquarters, whence they were transported along the public streets in a wagon of the bureau, under the care of Driver Michael Howell and Lireman Edward II. Nichols, to the Zophar Mills, fireboat, at East Ninety-ninth street, to be dumped into the sea. The wagon had to pass through the upper East Side, and, while going north between Seventy second and Seventy-third streets, Howell noticed that the load was shifting. He got off his seat and went to the rear of the wagon. As lie reached the rear one of the bombs rolled from the edge of the vehicle. The driver tried to catch it; but it slipped through his fingers and, striking the ground, exploded. The force seemed to be directly upwards, and Howell got the full benefit of it and fell, maimed and unconscious. I he horses started to run. They were stopped before they got very far; but, as the vehicle was hurried along by them, its freight of bombs kept bobbing about and threatened to explode any moment either in the wagon itself or by being thrown out on the street. Fireman Nichols, who had also stepped off the wagon, was unhurt, and Howell was taken to the Flower hospital, his face .and legs being fearfully burned and blackened by the pc wder. His right arm was torn off by the force of the explosion; it was literally blown to bits, for not even a scrap of flesh was found. At the hospital he was at once placed upon the operating table, where one of his legs was amputated and his other injuries were attended to.’ Not much hope of his recovery was entertained bv the doctors in attendance. The bombs were each of the shape and about the size of an oldfashicned handgrenade, and were of a peculiarly explosive character. At the bottom of each was a small cap that connected with a fuse leading to the powder, and so made that they had to drop (as the fatal bomb dropped) on the can before an explosion could be caused. One peculiarity about them was said to be that the longer they remained unused, the more dangerous they became. Captain Kiernan, of the bureau of combustibles, on being interviewed, stated that he gave orders to drive slowly, and go only on unfrequented streets. I lie bombs had all been wrapped in blankets and bag ging on orders of Inspector Burke, and packed in the wagon. After the accident orders wer given that two firemen should accomoanv the fEeboat Zophar Mills on her trip to a spot off Port Morris, where, before dumping the bombs into the sea. the caps were to be removed, as well as a small arrow that seems to have been used as a guide for throwing the missiles, and the contends emptied out into the water before throwing the grenades overboard. Howell, who is married, has been in the department for ten years, and is attached to truck No. 22, at No. 159 East Eightyfifth street.