New Jersey Explodes
October 4, 1918 - At 7:30PM on this night a massive explosion rocked the area around Morgan, New Jersey as an ammunition plant blew up. Fires and secondary explosions would continue for another 3 days as over 100 were killed and hundreds of buildings were destroyed.
According to a goverment study in the aftermath of the disaster, the amount of ammunition destroyed would be enough to supply the western front for 6 months.
Over 60,000 people from the towns of Sayreville, South Amboy and Perth Amboy had to be evacuated. Over the next year, this displacement of thousands would contribute to a large increase in the amount of deaths due to the raging influenza epidemic.
Nobody knows what caused the explosion. Theories range from an accidental spark to German sabotage. One of the scariest aspects of the disaster was the massive scattering of unexploded bombs. As recently as 2007, a bomb was unearthed while a construction crew was building a new playground.
Between 1994 and 1997, over 5000 pieces of ordnance were located and removed from the area.