Explosion at Ardeer Dynamite Factory
As reported in the Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald 1st of February 1901
On Tuesday afternoon, shortly after three o'clock an explosion occurred at Ardeer Dynamite Factory, by which one girl was killed and three others injured.
The explosion took place in one of the huts in which dynamite in bulk is filled into cylindrical cartridges. The filling is done by machinery, one girl attending each machine. The huts are wooden structures surrounded by embankments of sand, designed, in case of explosion, to limit the area effected. There are four machines in each hut. The dynamite in bulk is kept outside the hut and is conveyed to the machines in scoops, by the girls in charge, and the cartridges, as soon as filled, fall into a box outside the hut; so that only a small quantity of the explosive is ever in the hut at the one time. These precautions are taken, of course, with a view to their greater safety of the girls employed. The four girls at work in the hut in which the explosion occurred explosion occurred, were:
Rose O'Hare (22), residing with her parents in Bradshaw Street Saltcoats; Alice Clark, Kirkgate, Saltcoats; Mary Ann Paterson, Shore Road Stevenston; Janet McKillop, Grange Road Stevenston. There were really two explosions - the first being very slight, and the second blowing away part of the hut and setting fire to the remainder. Three of the girls made their escape with slight injuries. Immediately on hearing the explosion Mr Lundholm, manager, accompanied by other officials hastened to the spot, and directed operations for putting out the fire. The dead body of the girl Rose O'Hare was found after the flames were extinguished. Of the other girls, one had sustained a cut on the arm, and another a cut on the leg. All were much frightened of course. They were removed home for medical treatment. Rose O'Hare was a native of Newcastle, Co. Down, whither the body has since been taken. Her father and some other relatives are employed in the factory. She herself had only been at work in it about a month.
Everything was left until the arrival of H.M.'s Inspector yesterday. Any explanation of the occurrence must be conjectural. It is supposed that the first explosion took place where the cartridges were being filled, and the second resulted from the cartridges outside taking fire. Only a portion of the explosive in the hut went of. Some of it was thrown over the embankment unexploded. A very short period elapsed between the first and second explosion, probably not more than half a minute. The explosion was??????? and was confined to one hut. A strong north-west wind carried the sound away from the town, and in Stevenston itself nothing was known of the accident till the girls returned home. The death of the girl Rose O'Hare is deplored. It is seventeen years since an accident occurred to any of the cartridge girls. In anything of this nature which has occurred in the interim they have always escaped.