SHELTON, Conn. -- A Shelton Fire Company Lieutenant recalled a devastating fire that occurred 42 years ago on March 1 at a local factory.
Lieutenant Mike Plavcan posted photos and wrote about the fire on Facebook. Nobody died in the fire, which occurred at the B.F. Goodrich Sponge Rubber Factory. The site is now the Shelton Riverwalk.
Plavcan, a member of Echo Hose Hook and Ladder Co. 1, said on the Facebook post that the fire was one of the largest industrial arsons in the nation’s history. The fire was determined to have been set by owners of the factory to collect insurance money.
“About 700 firefighters from Shelton and nearby towns risked their lives battling 200 foot flames for about 8 hours until the blaze was under control the following morning,’’ Plavcan said. “The FBI labeled it the largest arson case and peacetime bombing in the country. The explosion was felt for miles, including at the firehouse where windows were blown out.”
Gasoline drums wrapped in explosives ignited the fire, which ripped through the walls and floors of Plant No. 4, which was the manufacturing site for mattresses, pillows and other goods. Two security guards and a boiler room attendant were in the building at the time of the fire.
The plant had been owned by B.F. Goodrich and was sold to Charles Moeller shortly before the fire. Moeller was acquitted, but eight others who served on the company’s Board of Directors were convicted of the firebombing.
Click here to see more about the blaze on Facebook.
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