THE MANUFACTURE AND STORAGE OF EXPLOSIVES.
COMMENT has already been made upon the danger attaching to buildings in which explosives are stored either for sale or for manufacturing purposes. Allusion was made at the same time to the recent explosion in a celluloid factory at Newark, N. J., which caused not only a destructive fire, but also two lives and injuries more or less serious to several persons living in the immediate neighborhood. The company owning this factory has been particularly unfortunate in the way of fires. About twenty-five years ago, when its plant was located on Mechanic street, the whole building was consumed in one hour, and one life was lost. A new building was then erected on East Ferry street, upon what was then waste land. A fire, probaably caused by an explosion, destroyed the plant, and eight lives were lost. Between that and the latest fatal fire were several others of minor destructiveness. It is urged, with undoubted fairness, that, when the factory in question was built, the neighborhood in which it is now situated had no dwellings on, or near it. It is also true, however, that, just as soon as such a dangerous business was established there, the value of the adjacent property at once depreciated, whereupon there arose a boom in the line of building cheap houses and tenements round the factory, as well for the accommodation of those working therein as of others who desired a cheap place of residence. Considering, therefore, that factories of that kind, despite all precautions to the contrary, are exposed every moment to the danger of explosion and fire—even excessive heat,whether of the outside atmosphere or that caused inside the shop generating spontaneous combustion—it would seem that the time must come sooner or later when, like powder mills or dynamite or nitro-glycerine plants, such manufactures must be banished by legal enactment outside the limits of cities and towns. Judging also from recent experience in this city as well as elsewhere, more stringent laws governing not only the manufacture, but also the storage of explosives, should be enacted and their observance most strictly enforced. The least that can be demanded, surely, is that the existing laws be obeyed to the letter and that those charged with the supervision of such establishments be men thoroughly versed in the business, not the mere appointees of this or that party, liable to be changed any day on the mere motion of some political boss, or subject to removal on the defeat of those who placed them in office.