A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

History: Nord Chemical Co Explosion, Keyport (1952)

The 1 May 1952 edition of The Matawan Journal (page 1, col 8) covered the overnight explosions and fire at the Nord Chemical Company at Broadway and Clark Street in Keyport.

"Area residents were jolted from their slumbers early this morning by a series of explosions . . . that set off successive waves of a roaring inferno that consumed much of the plant . . ."

Area fire companies couldn't approach the benzol-fueled chemical fire until retardant foam was delivered from Standard Oil in Linden and applied.

Nord Chemical, which had been in operation for 14 years, consisted of a plant, office buildings and storage tanks situated on 9 acres. Authorities were able to move three of four chemical tank cars on the plant's railroad spur. A neighboring company had  relocated much of its operation to Marlboro for fear of such a fire and still suffered an estimated $33,000 in damages. Nord's estimated loss was $100,000.

The manufacture of benzol distillates from waste had prompted complaints of odors and the pollution of nearby Luppatolong Creek. See "Fumes Many Complaints, Probe" in the 8 Feb 1951 edition of The Matawan Journal (page 6, col 5) for details of these complaints and Keyport's unsuccessful efforts to get the State of New Jersey to assign blame to Nord Chemical.

The 13 Aug 1942 edition of The Red Bank Register (pg 11) reported on what was the sixth fire at the plant in three years. The 29 Jul 1948 edition of the Red Bank Register (pg 9) mentioned yet another fire.


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