From the Richmond Examiner, 9/27/1861
ALARM OF FIRE. – The alarm of fire yesterday at 10 o'clock was caused by the burning of a lot of waste cartridge paper and the accumulations of refuse powder intermixed therewith, which, having been deposited on the river bank, near the Petersburg depot, was either set on fire by sparks from a locomotive, or mischievous urchins. The burning material set fire to the fence attached to the Laboratory of the Confederate States (Thomas' factory), and the alarm consequent thereon causing a general stampede among the women and children engaged in making cartridges, several of them were severely bruised in their efforts to escape from the building. The occurrence caused a momentary but very general alarm among all the inhabitant in the immediate vicinity of the factory, and the desire to get out of the way, in expectation of a grand blow up, was universal.