On January 15, 1895, a fire broke out in the Kenyon-Connell Warehouse and the Butte Hardware Company. Shortly after arriving at the fire, an explosion occurred, killing all but two members of Butte’s Fire Department. As people came rushing to the scene to help after the first explosion, a second explosion occurred. Unknown to the members of the Fire Department and those who tried to help after the explosion was that an illegal amount of dynamite was stored in the warehouse, surrounded by rabble heads, pieces of steel placed around dynamite to prevent a stray bullet from causing an explosion, which became shrapnel during the disaster. An investigation to determine the responsibility for the Kenyon-Connell disaster was set for January 21, 1895. Crowds filled the proceedings held at City Hall. The examination lasted 10 days, looking into the quantity of explosives stored and the methods of handling them. On January 31, 1895, the jury concluded the Kenyon-Connell Commercial Company and the Butte Hardware Company were criminally negligent and careless in their storing of dynamite.
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