Lake Hopatcong, NJ Powder Company Explosion, Apr 1892

SEVEN WERE KILLED.

A NEW JERSEY POWDER CO.'S WORKS BLOWN UP.

SEVERAL OTHERS ARE HURT.

A HEAP OF FLESH AND BONES ALL THAT REMAINS OF THE DEAD MEN.

The Report Terrific and Heard for Many Miles -- The Wrecked Buildings Caught Fire and Came Near Communicating With the Storehouses of Powder -- The Search for the Victims -- Cause of the Explosion Unknown.

Newark, N. J., April 19 -- The works of the American Forcite Powder Company, a short distance from the landing station at Lake Hopatcong, on the Morris and Essex Railway, blew up shortly after 3 o'clock yesterday afternoon and seven men were blown to atoms. The killed are:
J. D. SMITH, superintendent of the works.
JACOB GARLSON.
WILLIAM PIERCE.
JAMES VAGH.
A. JOHNSON.
GOEFREY WATER.
An unknown Swede.
Besides these, two men were injured. One of them BENJAMIN CASSIMORE, will probably die.
The works of the company consisted of a number of small buildings, scattered at a distance of about 300 feet from each other. The nitro-glycerine mill was the first building to go up, and the shock of this explosion caused six other buildings to be rent asunder by their dangerous contents exploding.
The report was terrific and was heard in the surrounding country for many miles. Buildings in the vicinity rocked as if on a stormy sea and in some instances appeared as if about to topple over. The startled residents rushed from their houses and saw a cloud of dust and smoke flying through the air, near the lower part of the company's works.
They knew instinctively what had happened and ran for the mountain side, fearful that some of the large storage houses of the company, in which there were tons of the highest and deadliest explosives, might go up at any moment. When several minutes had passed without their fears being realized, the people advanced cautiously to the scene of the explosion.
The wreckage was found to be on fire and burning fiercely. The most timid of those present, seeing in this a new danger -- there being a possibility that the flames might spread to the storage houses -- again fled. The others, however, ran out the company's fire apparatus and water from the lake was used to fight the fire.
In a short time the flames were under control, and then the wreckage scattered about was overhauled for the purpose of finding the men who had been at work in the buildings. Within a few minutes two men were found, both badly injured. The roll of the company's employes was then called, and it was found that seven men were missing.
These men were undoubtedly dead, and a search was begun for their bodies. The searchers were mostly old employes of the company, and knew that in a case like the present one it was useless to search among the ruins that still remained where the buildings had stood.
The searchers have succeeded in gathering about 150 pounds of mangled flesh and bone, which is all that remains of the dead men.
The cause of the explosion is unknown, and a representative of the company on the scene says it will be impossible to ascertain it.

Middletown Daily Press New York 1892-04-19

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