Keasbey, NJ Inn Explosion, Jan 1904



500 Dancers in Panic and Men

Trample on Women to Escape.

Lightly Clad Merrymakers Rush from

Wrecked Building Into Heavy Snowstorm

at Keasbey.

WOODBRIDGE. N. J., Jan. 3.~An explosion

which seriously injured twentyeight

persons wrecked Joseph Galaida's

inn, at Keasbey, in Woodbridge Township,

early this morning. The explosion is supposed

to have been caused by acetylene

gas, a tank of which was kept in the cellar

to illuminate the building.

More than 500 persons, members and

guests of the St. Joseph's Benevolent Society,

which was holding its annual reception,

were enjoying themselves, most of

them on the dance floor, when the explosion

blew the walls out of the building and

threw the merrymakers violently to the


In the panic which followed the discovery

that one of the two exits from the hall

had been closed by the wreckage many

women and girls were trampled upon by

the men. who fought furiously to get out of

the shaking building.

With the roar that followed the explosion

all the lights in the buildings went out, and

in the darkness many persons were injured.

As the frightened members of the society

and their guests crowded and fought their

way out of the building, clad in light ballroom

costumes, and many of them streaming

with blood, they faced a furious snowstorm

with the snow a foot in depth and

drifted in places so that it was four or five

feet deep. Some were unable to get t o their

feet, and they were rescued by the cooler

of those who were not injured. A dozen

houses in the neighborhood of Galaida's

were hastily thrown open, and the sufferers

taken in out of the storm.

The wreckage of the hotel caught fire,

and there was danger from that source.

John Konen crawled into the cellar and

started a stream of water from a faucet

there, with which he put out the blaze.

Galaida says that there was what appeared

to be a sheet of flame In the basement

of the building, where he was, and

he was fearfully burned. Mrs. Galaida

was in their living apartments; on the

third floor of the hotel building. She was

hurled to the ceiling and here scalp lacerated.

Gertrude Eilon of New Brunswick

had her face crushed, and if she recovers

she will be without the use of her right

eye. Michael Proskey had his right arm

torn off at the elbow.

Keasbey is four miles from Woodbridge,

and when word was sent for physicians the

messenger, in his excitement, reported that

only Galaida and his wife were hurt. Dr.

G. W. Tyrrell responded to the call, and

when he reached Keasbey, two hours after

the explosion, he found about thirty people

who needed attention.

Doing what he could for the relief of

those worst injured, he hurried back to his

office for additional supplies. It was

nearly noon when the last of the victims

of the mysterious explosion had been cared


According to Dr. Tyrrel almost all of

those injured will be partially deaf, owing

to the concussion. Nearly a score received

injuries which may affect the sight

of one eye-. They were dancing at the

time of the explosion and were thrown

violently to the floor, striking their heatU.

The walls of the hotel were blown out.

so that there is danger of the collapse of the building.

The New York Times, New York, NY 4 Jan 1904