On today’s date, in 1930, the Puget Sound and Alaska Powder Company of Mukilteo, a gunpower plant located four miles South of Everett, were obliterated
by two explosions. Eight residents of the surrounding area were injured from their windows shattering from the force of the blast, but the three factory
workers on site survived without injury. Of the homes that were destroyed, none were insured against something so seemingly farfetched as an explosion.
The last worker to leave the plant told his recollection of how the day transpired. “The fire began in the ammonium drying house. Plant manager W. E. Crosby had previously instructed workers to screen and reuse the ammonium in order to save costs. September 17th was a busy day at the plant, and waste had accumulated for hours, drawing moisture. In cleaning up, Newman scraped the waste across a screen. The particles spontaneously combusted, setting off sparks. The only water supply was Powder Mill Creek. Newman attempted to extinguish the fire. Realizing he couldn’t, he warned the other two workers and all were able to escape without injury. When the fire reached the nitroglycerin house, it exploded.”
The plant, one of two in the region, was completely destroyed and never rebuilt.
Attribution to HistoryLink.org and Margaret Riddle. Special thanks to The State of Washington and Washington State Department of Archeology and Historic Preservation