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Saturday, September 07, 2013

1971: DISASTER IN MERCERVILLE: UNION METHODIST CHURCH EXPLOSION

 

I remember this disaster quite well. I had just passed the area on Quaker Bridge Road perhaps a half hour prior to the explosion as I was on my way to my New Brunswick office. One of my work mates was Al Tobias who lived on Holt Avenue, mere streets away from the explosion. It was the talk of the town way back there 42 years ago. How time has flown; it seems like just a few years ago. The church was rebuilt in the beautiful edifice on Paxon Avenue off Edinburg Road.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

My father (Aaron "Ernie" Brock) was taking his crane (Pines Construction Co., Inc.) to another job that morning. The police stopped him on Route 33, and asked him to take his crane to the scene. When he got there, nobody needed rescuing (the sextant was saved by the strong masonry vestibule). So, they asked my dad to knock down the dangerous remaining parts of the church so nobody would get hurt by falling material. If you could dig up the large picture that was inside the Trenton Times, showing Dad's Bucyrus Erie 22-B crane in the middle of the wreckage, I'd sure like to see it again. --Sandy Brock

Anonymous said...

Wups, I meant to say "sexton"--darn that auto-correct function!

There's a little bit of my dad's crane in one of the posted pictures, but I remember an aerial photo in the paper, showing a huge debris field all around Dad's rig. That's the picture I'd like to see again. --Sandy Brock

J. Hance said...

At that time, we lived two blocks over on Merham Court. I was in the bathroom getting ready for school when it went up. The medicine cabinet over the sink popped open and some items fell in the sink while I was brushing my teeth. My mother and I ran out into the back yard less than a minute after the blast. The sky was dark with smoke and papers falling from the sky, which were pages from prayer books. We both ran over to Stiener Ave. My Grandmothers backyard was on the other side of the fence of the church's parking lot. She was lucky as her garage diverted most of the blast away from her house.