The Weekly Age-Herald reported that the plant manager, Mr. Hobbs, supposed "some accident in the packing room caused" the explosion, but he "feared to express himself lest he might do some injustice to the dead." However, the Iowa Daily Leader reported "the presumption is that Lake, who was engaged in packing, struck too hard a blow."
Lake was blown to pieces, dying instantly and, according to the Age-Herald, one foot was the only recognizable piece left of him. His house, located about ¼-mile from the plant, was also "considerably damaged." The newspaper reported that Mr. Hobbs "said everything that could be done to alleviate the grief of relatives would unhesitatingly be done." Lake was survived by his pregnant wife.