Newark, NJ Torpedoes Explode in Railroad Depot, Jul 1898


One Man Fatally Injured and Combination Car Blown to Pieces


Box Containing Explosives Dropped by Baggage Handlers While Loading Car

Special to The Inquirer.

NEWARK, July 2.—A terrific explosion, followed by shrieks fo agony, startled people in and near the Broad Street Station of the Central Railroad here at 11:20 this morning. The detonation shook buildings for blocks and was heard over a mile away. A thick cloud of smoke rose from the depot and crowds rushed up from every direction with blanched faces. At first they thought an engine had blown up. For a while few ventured into the blinding smoke that filled the interior of the building.

Those who went in caught instantly a smell of powder and a terrible sight greeted them. One end of a combination smoking and baggage car was blown to pieces. Windows of ever car in the shed were smashed.

On the platform beside the car lay an man whose face seemed almost entirely torn away. He was William Blosi, 35 years old, of No. 17 William street. He was hurried to a hospital in a dying condition. Several others were hurt and a number of passengers waiting for trains were knocked down and terribly shaken up.

It was evident the explosion had occurred inside the express part of the combination car. The cause was for a time a mystery, but express employes{sic} in looking over their books found a shipment of giant torpedoes from the Keen-Martin Cycle Company, of this city, to the F. L. C. Martin Cycle Company, of Plainfield. Investigation amid the debris revealed traces of all shipments except the torpedoes. There were no other explosives in the car.

Harvey Good, the Keen-Martin shipping clerk, who packed and addressed the torpedoes, does not remember marking them “explosives” or “dangerous.” It is thought that Blosi in handling the box let it drop hard enough to explode one or more of the torpedoes, which set off the others.

At the time of the explosion employes{sic} of the express company were loading the car from a hand truck. They were all knocked down and injured. Blosi was blown out with terrific force through the car door. Aside from Blosi, the most badly injured person was John Clemons, a galvanizer, who was standing on the platform a few feet from the car. He was struck in the face and body by flying debris. In every direction were evidences of the terrific force of the explosion.

Blosi died from his injuries tonight.

Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia, PA 3 Jul 1898