HC Deb 26 April 1911 vol 24 cc1787-8

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been drawn to the evidence given at the inquest upon the bodies of three men who were fatally injured by an explosion and fire at the works of Messrs. J. Laing and Son, Holt Town, Manchester, on Tuesday, 21st March, 1911; whether his attention has been drawn to the remarks of the coroner; and, if so, will he state whether it is the intention of the Home Office to hold a full inquiry into the cause of the explosion?

The SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. Churchill)

I have received a report of this case and of the proceedings at the inquest. I am advised that the circumstances point to the explosion having been one of starch dust, caused by the fire which had burst out in the adjoining premises. Any fine dust of a combustible nature is liable under certain conditions to explode, in the same way as coal dust will explode in a mine or flour dust in a flour mill. There is no record of any similar explosion in a starch factory; but explosions of starch dust have been produced experimentally. The subject will receive the further consideration of the officers of the Factory Department.