Sunday, January 24, 2016

On This Date in Minnesota History: January 24

January 24, 1910 – A terrific explosion in the Stewartville opera house caused some serious and probably permanent injuries to four, as well as nearly wrecking the building. Almon Johnson, an electrician, was doing some repair work on a line that supplied current for the spot lights, and he was being assisted by John Smith, 15. Harvey Brandon, a member of the Huntley Amusement Company, currently playing in Stewartville, and Albert Knight, an employee of the theater, were also in the building. Johnson had completed his work, and placed the lighted torch he had been using upon a trunk of the Huntley’s that had served as a work bench. Brandon had brought a shot gun into the theater, and taking the gun apart, Brandon and Knight were examining the stock. Smith, the boy, was about to extinguish the light in the torch, when a terrific explosion occurred that could be heard a block away. The force of the explosion threw the four men into various parts of the building.

Johnson, the electrician, severely injured both legs. Harvey Brandon was badly injured in the neck, and may die. John Smith may lose the use of his right hand, which was badly lacerated, while the other hand was hurt almost as badly, and Albert Knight was struck in the eye by flying missiles and may lose the sight in that eye.

A careful examination failed to reveal the cause of the explosion.

Minneapolis Morning Tribune; “Four Injured in Explosion. Stewartville Electrician, His Helper and Two Others Badly Hurt.”; Jan. 25, 1910; p. 1.


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