READY TO ROLL AT PATERSON RIVERSIDE STATION - PHOTO BY DR. THOMAS DAYSPRING

READY TO ROLL AT PATERSON RIVERSIDE STATION - PHOTO BY DR. THOMAS DAYSPRING

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

FIREWORKS BLAST

After twenty-two hours of digging in the ruins of yesterday's explosion at Paterson, N.J., work ceased this afternoon, and it is now believed all the bodies have been recovered. There are now seventeen. - Washington Post

View of Old Main Street
(Photo: www.patersonhistory.com)

On June 21, 1901, fireworks exploded in a shop in a four-story tenement at 440 Main St., killing 17 people and trapping tenants in apartments above. Three firefighters were injured.

Rescuers used ladders and life nets to save people ``hanging from the windows ready to drop'' when the engines arrived, according to The New York Times.

The Times described the saving of John McGlone and his wife, who lived on the top floor:

``McGlone climbed out of the front window and hung on with one hand while he held his wife to his breast with the other. The ladders were all busy, and one of the life nets from Truck 1 was called into use. Twenty men held it, and McGlone was told to drop.

``With a superb show of strength he swung so as to carry his wife away from the building and then let go of her. She dropped into the net through the flame. As soon as she could be rolled out Of the net, it was placed for her husband, and he, too, landed safely in it.''

Still, the husband and wife were ``badly burned by their flight through the flames bursting from the windows below,'' according to the newspaper.