Hulton, PA Dynamite Explosion At Acme Powder Works, Mar 1894



Ten Thousand Pounds of Dynamite Exploded, and In a Twinkling the Acme Powder Works Were Wiped Out of Existence -- Matches Probably the Cause.

Pittsburg, March 24 -- Ten thousand pounds of dynamite blew up at Black's run, near Hulton, and the only four people who knew anything about it are scattered in fragments over a quarter of a mile of territory.
The dead are: WILLIAM ARTHUR, aged 28, MRS. BELLE ARTHUR, aged 17, wife of WILLIAM ARTHUR; SADIE REMALYE, aged 21, sister of MRS. ARTHUR and CHARLES ROBBINS, aged 19 years, of Allegheny City, who was employed as a puncher. NELLIE REMALYE, aged 19, sister of the other women, was fatally injured and taken to Pittsburg, where she died in the West Pennsylvania hospital.
Foreman WILLIAM MOONEY of the dynamite house was hurt by a flying splinter. MAT FEINTZEL, engineer, and SIMON BRADLEY, packer, although near the scene, escaped uninjured.
Had Just Begun Work.
The Acme powder works, the scene of the disaster, were located in a ravine about one mile above Hulton. There were four houses down near the creek bottom. The employees had just begun work. Twenty minutes later the first explosion occurred, blowing the two young women and two men into eternity. About 100 yards away from the packing house, where the explosion occurred, was the boarding house where the victims lived.
NELLIE REMALYE, the injured girl, was housekeeper for the rest. The boarding house was blown down and resembles a heap of broken lumber, and from the debris the young woman was rescued, being the only survivor. She died two hours later at the hospital without having recovered consciousness.
The scene of the disaster resembles a battlefield, debris and cartridge wrappers being scattered all over the hillside. The ground was torn into a bowl shaped depression, trees were stripped of their branches, and buildings were blown into splinters. The warehouse of the company 500 yards away beside the railroad track, was crushed in, and the roof was blown off.
The remains of the four victims were picked up on the hillside in pieces. Part of the leg of a man, torn and stripped of all clothing, was found on the top of a bluff nearly a quarter mile away. It is supposed that a match had been carried into the works, contrary to orders, and in some way caused the explosion. The loss is estimated at $15,000. The work of rebuilding will commence as soon as the debris is cleared away.
The roar of the explosion was heard for miles up and down the river. Immediately afterward came a swaying earthquake motion that shook houses and furniture. At Springdale, across the river, and at Parnassus, five miles up the road, windows were broken. Rocks, ties and solid lumps of earth were thrown 600 yards into the river by the explosion.
Some One Had Matches.
MR. McAFEE, one of the proprietors of the firm, was on the scene soon after the explosion and made the following statement: "The cause of the explosion was fire. Only one conclusion can be reached, and that is that some of the dead had matches in their possession, and one was dropped and ignited. The living positively declare that they had no matches. One of the strictest rules of the company is against carrying matches except in the engine hours. We had 10,000 pounds of dynamite on the premises. This is an unusually large stock, but we were working on a carload to be shipped on Monday."

Ticonderoga Sentinel 1894-03-24