Camden, NJ Fireworks Plant Explosion, May 1904

Birth, Marriage & Death Records

3 DEAD, 9 INJURED BY EXPLOSION.

FIREWORKS PLANT AT CAMDEN, N.J., BLOWN TO ATOMS.

COMPANY OFFICIALS ARRESTED.

Camden, N.J., May 24. -- Three persons were killed and 10 others were injured, two of them probably fatally, by an explosion in the factory of the Independent Fireworks Company, on the outskirts of this city.
The dead are:
SIMON PERADAZZO, aged 18 years.
JOSEPH LOGOLLA, aged 16 years.
ANDRAE ORVILLA, aged 17 years.
Those believed to be fatally injured are MICHAEL SCALONA, aged 52 years, and LENARDO PINTO, aged 45 years, both of this city.
Robert T. Weser, of Philadelphia, president of the company, and Joseph Scalona, vice-president, were arrested and held in $1500 bail to await the action of the coroner. Warrants have been issued for certain other officers of the concern.
The plant consists of a two-story brick store house and four frame sheds, one of which is used for mixing the explosive composition placed in the fireworks. The explosion occurred in this department. The cause of the accident is yet to be positively determined. The theory of the workmen is that Michael Scalona, father of the vice president of the company, may have taken chlorate of potash out of a barrel with a shovel on which there was some sulphur. Some of the work people had very narrow escapes. One girl was rescued from the roof of one of the sheds, where she had been carried by the force of the explosion.
Those who were not killed suffered tortures, and their shrieks and cries added to the horror of the scene. The three girls and their fellow employes were buried beneath a large heap of boxes, and when rescued presented a gruesome appearance.
Their faces were blackened, and blood was streaming from their wounds.
The terrific force of the explosion could only be realized when an examination was made of the premises. The yard and surrounding field were strewn with bits of clothing and splinters of what was once a frame building. Gravel, powder, colored paper and other ingredients used in the manufacture of fireworks were spread about the ground and the entire place had the appearance of having been swept by a tornado.

Richmond Planet Virginia 1904-05-28