Helping in a crisis

As I was searching the archives of the New York Times I came across an item published in 1905 which, even today, can teach an important lesson: do not check the fuel tank in your car with the help of a lighted match. According to the article, a New York man who had just bought a new car and who was taking it for a drive with his wife and sister-in-law became worried that there might be a fuel leak; he stopped and decided to check out the tank with the help of some light from a match, causing a major explosion in which, thankfully, nobody was seriously hurt.

But actually, amusing though all of this is, what really caught my eye in the piece was the following:

‘The noise of the explosion caused a crowd to gather quickly. Several men came from a hotel armed with hand grenades, and they were thrown upon the blazing automobile, but without effect.’

Hang on a minute. These men happened to be in a nearby hotel and came out with hand grenades? And they threw these on the car, in order to help? For those of you who want to avoid this location, just in case local habits haven’t changed, this was between Flushing and Jackson Avenue. If you have to go past there, keep driving, and for heaven’s sake don’t stop near any hotel.

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3 Comments on “Helping in a crisis”

  1. Vincent Says:

    A chap called Red Adair made a good living doing exactly that.

    And ‘A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed’, is why the arms were there in the first place. Or at least why no one was making any fuss. But at that time NTC was the destination of choice for every European revolutionary you could think and because of this was also alive with secret police, spies and other assorted rifraff.

  2. eimear Says:

    You probably know this and were posting tongue in cheeck – but at that era “hand grenades” were a type of fire extinguisher.

    http://www.knowledgecenter.unr.edu/specoll/mss/NC121.html


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