Nixon, NJ Nitration Works Explosion, Mar 1924




Meutchen, N.J., Mar. 1. - Fifteen killed, forty injured, was the approximate toll of the terrific explosion which today demolished the Nixon nitration works and rocked buildings for miles around.
At 1:20 o'clock this afternoon it was impossible to get the exact number of the dead and injured.
One whole family, of the name of DUMAS, was reported to have been killed. They were father, mother, two sons and a daughter. MR. and MRS. ARTHUR DUMAS, a visitor in their home, MISS JANICE ROCKEFELLER
was also one of the casualties.

New Brunswick, N.J., Mar. 1. - A terrific explosion which for more than an hour mystified New York City and the community for miles around occurred today at the Nixon T.N.T. plant located just outside of this city.
Hurry calls for doctors and nurses were sent to Elizabeth, N.J., and ambulances were running back and forth early this afternoon.
The first of the injured, seven in number, were taken to St. Peter's Hospital.
Shortly, other injured arrived at the Middlesex Hospital, one of whom died within a few minutes after arrival.
All houses within a radius of a mile of the scene of the explosion were heavily shaken by the blast.
Windows were shattered, doors blown out and many houses' walls fell.
The explosion rocked the countryside. Telephone reports to New Brunswick were that the blast was heard as far away as Mineola, L.I., approximately 40 miles.
Two ambulances and six doctors were sent from Plainfield to the scene of the explosion, while Perth Amboy sent several doctors and an ambulance.
Some of the injured were taken to the army hospital at the Raritan, N.J. arsenal, where army surgeons took charge of the work of organizing the medical forces.
The Nixon works is situated in a marsh section isolated from houses and other industrial establishments.
A telephone operator in New Brunswick, who got in touch with the operator at the scene said she had been told 12 persons had been killed.
The blast in the T.N.T. room of the factory and demolished not only all of the structures there but buildings for a half mile around.
There were two shocks of such violence that such rumors quickly arose. The sky scrapers, the barge office and other buildings at the battery were shaken and in Brooklyn the borough hall and court house and the Temple Bar building vibrated.
Telephone lines in New Jersey were clogged with calls for help.
The army hospital at Raritan arsenal, closest of all hospitals in the accident, and at Elizabeth, the Elizabeth General Hospital and the Middlesex Hospital in New Brunswick, sent doctors and ambulances. Physicians from surrounding towns also hurried to the scene. Army surgeons from Raritan arsenal took charge and directed the work of attending the injured.
Immediately following the explosion
the Nixon building burst into flames. The flames quickly spread to an adjoining building near the Nixon plant. The flames quickly spread to 27 buildings need to house workmen and soon the place was a raging inferno.
The shock of the explosion was terrific. It lifted the Nixon building high into the air. Brick and wood were piled in all directions.
The earth fairly trembled, buildings for miles around vibrated and walls in homes in the region crumbled.
Hurry up calls for ambulances, surgeons and nurses were sent to nearby cities. Within a half hour ambulances were arriving here with doctors and nurses who went into the ruins to take care of the dead and dying.
The explosion was caused it is believed by the T.N.T. (tri-nitro-tulout)- one of the most powerful explosives known. It is used extensively in the ordinance of the United States army and navy and was utilized in the bombs that came into use in the World War.

Olean Evening Times New York 1924-03-01