Blandford, VA Fireworks Factory Explosion, Apr 1894

FIREWORKS BLOW UP.

ELEVEN MEN KILLED IN AN EXPLOSION -- GIRLS HAVE A NARROW ESCAPE.

Petersburg, Va., April 7. -- This afternoon about 3 o'clock, an alarm of fire was turned in and soon followed by a loud explosion, and in about fifteen minutes thereafter there was a second explosion. These explosions were distinctly heard for over a mile, and were caused by fire breaking out in the fireworks factory of C. N. ROMAINE & Bro., in Blandford. The fire orginated in the building where powder for whistle bombs were made. The flames spread very rapidly, and from distant portions of the city great clouds of black smoke could be seen rising. The flames were quickly communicated to the other buildings, used for the manufacture of fireworks, and there were frequent small explosions. It was reported that there was a large quantity of powder stored somewhere -- exactly where no one appeared to know -- near these buildings, and this had the effect of keeping back a large proportion of the crowd from venturing too near the fire. On the opposite side of the street from the fireworks building, all of which were frame structures, was the trunk factory of Messrs. ROMAINE Bros., and close by was the large brick tobacco factory of BLAND Bros. & WRIGHT and the old whisky distillery, now unused.
All of these buildings, with the stock and machinery, were burned to the ground, as was also a large quantity of lumber. It was impossible to ascertain definitely what the loss by fire will be, but it is estimated that the total loss cannot be less than $75,000 or $100,000; partially covered by insurance.
There were three explosions. The first was a small affair. As soon as it occurred, Messrs. ROMAINE, BLAND and TOSH rushed into the drying room, and there the second and fatal explosion occurred, and they were killed. A number of girls employed in the fireworks factory escaped just before the second explosion.
A public meeting will be held tomorrow at the academy at the call of Mayor Collier.
The killed are:
CHARLES N. ROMAINE.
Captain JAMES T. TOSH.
JOHN B. BLAND.
JAMES ROWLAND.
ROBERT ROWLAND.
WILLIAM TRAYLOR.
EDWARD TRAYLOR.
JAMES BRYANT.
QUINCY LIVESAY.
JAMES W. PERKINS.
THOMAS WOOLFOLK.
The wounded are:
EDGAR FARLEY.
A. W. REDGRAVE.
WILLLIAM PARKER.
CHARLES WELLS.
CHARLES SHORT.
WALTER NUNNALLY.
E. STITH.
M. BEASLEY.
CHARLES EMORY.
SAMUEL DREWRY, colored.

Atlanta Constitution Georgia 1894-04-08