ON THIS DAY: 10 FEBRUARY 1917: Explosion at Naas Carpet Factory

As reported in the Leinster Leader Newspaper on the 10 February 1917, an explosion occurred in the Naas Carpet Factory and several young female employees were injured. 

As penned in the article:

A rather serious accident occurred in the Naas Carpet Factory on Monday morning last resulting in injures to several of the girls employed there. The accident was due to the bursting of one of the pipes attached to a high pressure cylinder of a hot water apparatus which is installed on the ground floor, and is used for the purpose of heating the place. The apparatus it appears, is a rather antiquated one, having been installed shortly after the starting of the factory some years ago, and was only retained pending the erection of a new steam-heating system, which the present management has had under consideration. The apparatus consists of a round stove which is filled through the top with a coke fire.

Around the outside of this stove the water pipes are coiled, and from thence branch off throughout the building. On Monday morning about nine o ‘clock, eight or ten of the girls employed in the factory, were standing around the fire warming their hands when suddenly one of the pipes burst, the hot water immediately escaping around the place. At the same time the force of the explosion caused the removable top of the stove to fly off and the fire was scattered in all directions for a radius of about 20 yards.

The Manager Mr. Boyce and all the available staff were immediately on the scene when it was discovered that all the girls had received more or less serious burns from the flying embers. Messengers were at one despatched for the priest and doctor, and in a few moments Very Rev. Father Norris P.P.; Rev. Father Hipwell, Dr. W.P Murphy and Nurse Mooney were on the scene. It was found that all the girls had received burns about the hands and arms, and were suffering from shock. All that was possible was done to alleviate their sufferings. In two cases, that of Maggie Quinn, and Maggie Kelly, the injuries were found to be more serious than in the other case, both having sustained burns about the neck and head, and being in a prostrate condition.

Having attended to their injuries Dr. Murphy ordered their removal to hospital whence they were later conveyed by Lady Albreda Bourke’s motor car. Both girls are making satisfactory progress towards recovery. The management later closed the factory for the day. In addition to those mentioned above Mr. Boyce Manager, and Mrs. Boyce, with Miss Denny, were prompt in rendering assistance to those injured. No material damage was caused by the explosion the origin of which is attributed to the extremely frosty weather which is prevalent just now.

On the same morning a pipe burst in the hot water apparatus used for heating the schools in the Mercy Convent. Luckily there was no one in the immediate vicinity at the time, so that the total injuries resulting from the explosion were confined to the apparatus itself.


That same year in September, there was another explosion at a cordite factory in Arklow, 22 September 1917 which claimed the lives of 28 people and injured many more.


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