Jersey City, NJ Saloon Explosion, Jul 1920

Saloon Explosion Kills Three, Injures Four

JERSEY CITY, New Jersey - Four persons, three of them children, were killed by an explosion last night in the Saigon of Andrew Polski at 611 Summit Avenue, Jersey City, or burned to death in the flames which swept through the three-story frame structure after some liquid - believed to have been alcohol - went off with a great roar in the saloon.

The dead are:
TRAXEADA POLSKI, wife of the saloon keeper.
LEOKAYDA POLSKI, ten-year-old daughter of the couple.
MAY POLSKI, their three-year-old daughter.
UNlDENTlFlED BOY, four-years old.

Polski collapsed in the City Hospital where little May, badly burned, expired under a surgeon's care. Police Captain Daniel Lee announced that Polski would be placed under arrest pending investigation of the explosion. The police think it may have resulted from the illicit manufacture of whisky.

Two persons, who were burned and overcome by smoke, are also in the City Hospital. They are members of another Polish family who lived above the Polskis, and their names had not been learned as of midnight.

The Polski place Is near the Five Corners, a great traffic centre. The noise of the explosion, followed by the glare of flames reddening the sky as the flimsy tenement burned like kindling wood, brought an excited crowd. A rumor that there had been a fire in a theatre, followed by a panic, heightened the excitement.

There are two police stations in the vicinity and squads of patrolmen and detectives arrived in time to drive back the onlookers and lunge into the building. They saved seven persons, some of whom were on the verge of jumping as tongues of flame licked nearer the window sills in which they were crouching, begging those in the street to hurry the work of rescue.

A single alarm was turned in and the flames were confined to the building in which they started. Though, for a time, other tenements were endangered. The firemen at first believed a number of others had lost their lives, but as soon as they were able to drag their hose lines inside, they were satisfied there were no more bodies within.

The New York Times, July 21, 1920