Keasbey, NJ Inn Explosion, Jan 1904
28 HURT BY EXPLOSION
IN A NEW JERSEY INN
500 Dancers in Panic and Men
Trample on Women to Escape.
Lightly Clad Merrymakers Rush from
Wrecked Building Into Heavy Snowstorm
WOODBRIDGE. N. J., Jan. 3.~An explosion
which seriously injured twentyeight
persons wrecked Joseph Galaida's
inn, at Keasbey, in Woodbridge Township,
early this morning. The explosion is supposed
to have been caused by acetylene
gas, a tank of which was kept in the cellar
to illuminate the building.
More than 500 persons, members and
guests of the St. Joseph's Benevolent Society,
which was holding its annual reception,
were enjoying themselves, most of
them on the dance floor, when the explosion
blew the walls out of the building and
threw the merrymakers violently to the
In the panic which followed the discovery
that one of the two exits from the hall
had been closed by the wreckage many
women and girls were trampled upon by
the men. who fought furiously to get out of
the shaking building.
With the roar that followed the explosion
all the lights in the buildings went out, and
in the darkness many persons were injured.
As the frightened members of the society
and their guests crowded and fought their
way out of the building, clad in light ballroom
costumes, and many of them streaming
with blood, they faced a furious snowstorm
with the snow a foot in depth and
drifted in places so that it was four or five
feet deep. Some were unable to get t o their
feet, and they were rescued by the cooler
of those who were not injured. A dozen
houses in the neighborhood of Galaida's
were hastily thrown open, and the sufferers
taken in out of the storm.
The wreckage of the hotel caught fire,
and there was danger from that source.
John Konen crawled into the cellar and
started a stream of water from a faucet
there, with which he put out the blaze.
Galaida says that there was what appeared
to be a sheet of flame In the basement
of the building, where he was, and
he was fearfully burned. Mrs. Galaida
was in their living apartments; on the
third floor of the hotel building. She was
hurled to the ceiling and here scalp lacerated.
Gertrude Eilon of New Brunswick
had her face crushed, and if she recovers
she will be without the use of her right
eye. Michael Proskey had his right arm
torn off at the elbow.
Keasbey is four miles from Woodbridge,
and when word was sent for physicians the
messenger, in his excitement, reported that
only Galaida and his wife were hurt. Dr.
G. W. Tyrrell responded to the call, and
when he reached Keasbey, two hours after
the explosion, he found about thirty people
who needed attention.
Doing what he could for the relief of
those worst injured, he hurried back to his
office for additional supplies. It was
nearly noon when the last of the victims
of the mysterious explosion had been cared
According to Dr. Tyrrel almost all of
those injured will be partially deaf, owing
to the concussion. Nearly a score received
injuries which may affect the sight
of one eye-. They were dancing at the
time of the explosion and were thrown
violently to the floor, striking their heatU.
The walls of the hotel were blown out.
so that there is danger of the collapse of the building.
The New York Times, New York, NY 4 Jan 1904