POWDER MILLS BLOWN UP

POWDER MILLS BLOWN UP

The Laflin-Rand powder works at Pompton Lakes, N. J., were blown up on Tuesday morning last. At least nine lives were lost and the injured were many; thirteen being very seriously hurt. Fire completed the ruin. There were really two explosions, the noise of which was heard for miles round and by the shock windows in all directions within a radius of a mile were shattered. The first explosion occurred in the house where guncotton was being mixed. The second was in the drying house close by. The explosions wrecked the boiler house and killed the engineer. Three men were in the mixing room when the explosion occurred, and shreds of flesh picked up at various distances told the story of their fate. Several laborers were engaged in digging a ditch near the buildings where the explosions occurred. They furnished most of the dead. One body was found far up on the mountainside. The explosion was followed by fire. The flames attacked the debrisof the wrecked buildings and of the boiler house and threatened to spread to the other buildings; but. owing to the hard work of the soldiers and the men employed at the works, the fire was confined to the wreckage and a couple of buildings of no great value and from which there was no danger. Tons of high explosives were within a few hundred feet of the wrecked buildings, and that they did not go off is wonderful. Trees three hundred yards from the works had their leaves torn off. A line of telegraph or telephone wires about a thousand feet from the mixing house was torn from the poles, as though by a gale. These wires were of a heavy copper type, and constructed to stand the most severe wind storm the section is likely to have The force of the explosion broke every one of them. Trees within one hundred yards of the site of the mixing house were left without a leaf and some of them were stripped of their small branches. One tree had a big section of the bark peeled off. William If. Emmons, of company I, Third New Jersey volunteers, was on duty as sentinel near the mixing house when the first explosion took places. He was caught by flying splinters and terribly injured. One side of his scalp was torn away, and on the other side of his head his ear was torn off, probably by a flying splinter. Splinters three and four inches long were driven into all parts of his body—some of them almost through his legs. Corporal Dyer dragged the poor fellow out from the debris and carried him on his shoulders to the guardhouse, though anothei explosion was looked for at any moment. John Phillips,a foreman, who was standing nearly 150 feet from the mixing house, had his head blown off to a distance of eighty feet from his body, from which the clothing was almost entirely ripped off. The probabilities are that a grain of gravel or sand got into some of the powder which was being handled in the mixing room and that a spark from that caused the explosion. Of course, Spanish spies are blamed by some, as smokeless powder was being made for the Government. Two weeks ago there was a fire at the works. The employes tied; but the soldiers started in to fight the fire, and confined the 11 ones to the building in which they started. The soldiers received the thanks of the company, and on Saturday received the official thanks of Gen Gillespie for their work. The soldiers ran great risks, as the sparks from the fire dropped on buildings filled with the most powerful explosives. The loss to the company will be about $100,000

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