From the Richmond Enquirer, 9/27/1861, p. 3, c. 4
FIRE. - About 10 o'clock this morning, a quantity of cartridge clippings and waste paper, in the yard of Thomas' factory, now used as a Government laboratory, on Byrd street near 8th, became ignited by sparks from the locomotive, as it is supposed, and communicating to the slight quantities of gunpowder, which yet adhered to the remnants, occasioned a slight explosion. The alarm of fire was immediately sounded, and the fire department summoned to the scene. There are some one hundred and upwards of women and children employed in the building, and these became seized of a panic, and fled in the utmost consternation from the factory, dashing pell-mell down stairs, through the windows, and every other available mode of egress. In this flight one of the women fell down a flight of stairs, and was severely injured, several other female employees were also more or less bruised. The knowledge that large quantities of gunpowder were stored in the building, and the fears of an explosion which this fact occasioned, induced a general consternation among the residents in that vicinity. Fortunately, the flames were extinguished with no greater carnage than the burning of a fence.