March 03, 1924

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News from March 03, 1924

News from March 03, 1924 (The Post-Star, via Newspapers.com™)

Nixon Nitration Works Disaster Claims Lives

In the small town of Nixon, New Jersey, a devastating event occurred which came to be known as the Nixon Nitration Works disaster.

An explosion, accompanied by subsequent fires, ripped through the plant, causing extensive damage to the facility and surrounding area. The disaster resulted in eighteen confirmed deaths, with additional individuals reported missing. Among those who lost their lives was Mrs. Arthur Dumas, along with her three children and a visiting friend, found within the ruins of her home located near the plant boundary. The explosion at the Nixon Nitration Works, a facility that manufactured celluloid novelties and repurposed wartime explosives into agricultural products, left the community in mourning and posed serious questions regarding the safety of such operations.

The blast’s impact was felt far beyond the immediate vicinity, with reports of broken windows in surrounding locales. Investigations into the cause of the explosion commenced subsequently, with various theories being entertained, including the possibility that the explosive properties of TNT had not been entirely removed before its transfer from the Raritan arsenal to the Ammonite Company, where the catastrophic event took place.

At the time, it was revealed that only the expertise of army personnel in managing explosives prevented an even more significant tragedy, after it was discovered that arsenal buildings containing large quantities of trench mortar, artillery shells, and high explosives were damaged.

The aftermath of the explosion was embodied in the ongoing efforts to locate any remaining victims, as authorities and employees searched through the wreckage. The site was strewn with debris, including tanks, railroad cars, and containers filled with TNT and ammonia. Despite fires erupting among the ruins, officials confirmed that the blazes were under control.

This event created a profound sense of crisis, prompting investigations by the county prosecutor, the chief of county detectives, the coroner, and officers from the Raritan arsenal, all seeking to ascertain the precise cause of the blast.

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Source Articles and Clippings

"March 03, 1924," Newspapers.com Topics (https://www.newspapers.com/topics/century-ago-today/march-1924/march-03-1924/ : accessed April 25, 2024)