Camden, NJ Plant Explosion, Mar 1932



Camden, N.J., March 9 (AP) -- Fourteen workmen were killed and four injured, two seriously, in an explosion of a purifying box at the Public Service Electric and Gas Company plant here today.
Officials of the company gave out the following statement:
"The cause of the explosion has not been definitely ascertained but is believed to have been due to spontaneous combustion."
"The latest information we have is that there were at least 18 laborers employed in the purifying box. Fourteen bodies have been recovered. Four were taken to the hospital. Later two men were released. The other two are in a serious condition."

Camden, N.J., March 9 (AP) --An undetermined number of workmen are believed to be dead following an explosion in a gas purifying tank of the Public Service Electric and Gas Company here today. Four men were injured.
An official of the Public Service Electric and Gas Company said 14 workmen were killed, four injured, two seriously, and that one man escaped. Other reports placed the number of possible dead at between 20 and 25.
The scene of the blast was made harrowing by cries of relatives of the doomed men. Police roped off the streets a block from the gas tank. Spectators by the hundreds blocked the thoroughfares beyond the ropes.
The explosion was caused by a spark, either the result of a blow on the metal inner shell of the tank or a lighted match that lighted the gas within.
A tremendous roar announced the accident while practically the entire force of workmen, many earning their first pay in weeks, were trapped below.
A fierce torch-like flame which followed was speedily extinguished by the firemen and then the search within the chamber was begun.
Outwardly the tank showed no signs of the explosion. It is a square steel structure, 20 by 20 feet and 15 feet deep raised from the ground on steel girders 15 feet in height.
The metal interior was coated with a mixture of charcoal, sawdust and sulphuric and other acids used in purifying the gas which is then piped across the street.
In the sawdust composition gas collects. Several times a year it is necessary to clean it and the workmen who had done this work before commenced today on the unusually heavy accumulation.

Frederick Post Maryland 1932-03-10