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Summit Militiamen Help After Munitions Explosion

big enoughThe Summit Herald of October 11, 1918 reported that the Board of Health held a special meeting with the Mayor and local physicians to discuss the influenza epidemic. There were believed to be over 200 cases of flu in Summit. The Board, which had already ordered the closing of saloons, soda fountains, and pool rooms, prohibited all public gatherings. Churches, Sunday schools, theaters, public and private schools, and the YMCA were to be closed. Mr. Carroll P. Bassett generously offered the use of the vacant Fresh Air Home on Mountain Avenue as a hospital annex for influenza and pneumonia cases, as Overlook Hospital was already overcrowded.

Company A, Summit's unit of the New Jersey State Militia, was called to emergency service on the "front line"--not in France, but in Sayreville. An accident at the Gillespie Loading Company's munitions plant set off a series of violent explosions lasting three days. About 100 people were killed, and many more injured. Thousands fled their homes, and took refuge in neighboring communities. In Summit, 25 miles away, buildings shook, and windows cracked in the East Summit school.

The Federal Food Administration announced that sugar permits were no longer being issued for canning. Housewives were informed that fruits could be canned using hot water instead of syrup.

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