Providence, RI Journal Explosion, Mar 1916

PROVIDENCE JOURNAL UPSET BY EXPLOSION

Accompanied Fire in Editor's Room Which Police Say Was No Accident.

Special to The New York Times.

PROVIDENCE, R. I., March 2.---A fire of suspicious origin was discovered in the managing editor's room of the Providence Journal building tonight. The fire was discovered almost as soon as it started. An explosion which followed almost immediately filled the room with fire and dense smoke.

John R. Rathom, editor of the newspaper, was at his desk in an adjoining room when he heard the crackling of flames. He rushed at once to the door connecting the two rooms. As he flung the door open an explosion threw burning newspaper files in every direction, covering him with debris. The automatic sprinklers with which the building was equipped began at once to drench the blaze, but at first made little impression on the flames. Chemical extinguishers also were employed. In the meantime the fire had eaten its way through into the editors room.

With the arrival of the Fire Department the flames were subdued in half an hour. The room in which the fire began had not been occupied for two hours, and there were no electric wires that could have started the fire. The property damage was about $3,000.

Detectives from Headquarters, as well as Lieutenant Costigan of the Police Department, late tonight reached the conclusion that the fire could not have been of accidental origin.

The New York Times, New York, NY 3 Mar 1916