Hanover, MA Munitions Plant Explosion, Dec 1967
EXPLOSIVES PLANT BLAST KILLS ONE.
Hanover, Mass. (UPI) -- An explosion that rocked buildings like an earthquake erupted Wednesday at a munitions plant making antipersonnel mines for combat use in Vietnam.
One worker, identified as HOWARD CHUTE, 20, of Marshfield, was killed instantly when he was blown out a door. At least 14 others were injured, one of them critically.
The blast was in building 85 at the Atlantic Research Corp. Ordinance division where explosives were mixed for the mines. The work was described as "classified"
by the military.
Atlantic Research, a subsidiary of Susquehanna Corp. and holder of multi-million dollar government contracts opened an investigation into the cause of the explosion.
Officials refused to comment on the possible cause but workers reported a bottle of explosives fell from a shelf and went off when it hit the floor.
"I saw men crawling and bleeding," said BRENDA CORBETT, 18, a quality control worker who was inspecting mines in a building across from building 85.
"The roof was all blown up and the back of the building was all torn out. The windows were blown out. Clothing was all over the ground -- hats, coats and scarves, like that," she said. "There were no flames."
"It was just awful," she said.
The 100-acre plant, a tightly guarded and fenced in complex of some two dozen buildings, is situated in a non-residential section of West Hanover, 35 miles south of Boston.
Twenty-three persons were working in the section of the 30 by 100 foot wood and metal building where the explosion occurred shortly after the day shift reported for work.
The building remained upright but the blast pierced a hole in the roof, knocked out the windows and hurled desks, chairs and benches across the floor. There was no fire.
The plant employs 1,400 persons.
Twelve persons were taken to South Shore Hospital in Weymouth including one listed in critical condition. Two others were removed to Brockton Hospital. Doctors said most of the injured suffered burns, cuts and bruises.
The antipersonnel mines made by Atlantic Research are designed for use against troops and may be triggered by stepping on them or by pulling a string which is led away to "boobytrap" the device.
Kingsport News Tennessee 1967-12-28