Chemical Blast at Old Bridge, NJ, Plant Leaves One Dead, Four Hurt

May 2, 2024
Hazmat teams from several departments responded to the plant that makes smoke generators.

Katie Kausch, Jeff Goldman


A 73-year-old woman was killed and four people suffered severe injuries Wednesday in a chemical explosion and fire at a commercial business in Old Bridge that makes smoke generators, authorities said.

Officials called for a shelter in place at a nearby school due to the fire.

Two of those injured were flown by helicopter to hospitals for treatment, while two others were taken from the scene by ambulances, authorities said.

The fire broke out before 11:21 a.m. at Superior Signal Company on West Greystone Road and prompted a hazardous materials response involving multiple nearby towns, Old Bridge police said.

The woman killed, identified Wednesday afternoon as South River resident Eileen Marco, and the four injured were all employees of Superior Signal Company, which has three buildings on the property, authorities said.

A 51-year-old woman and 29-year-old man were flown to Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston. The woman had burns to her face and hands. The man had burns to his hands, police said.

The two people taken by ambulance were a 65-year-old woman with minor burns to her arms and a 62-year-old man suffering from smoke inhalation

The building where the explosion occurred is being decontaminated, officials said.

In addition, officials ordered students and staff at Jonas Salk Middle School to remain inside the school. The school is a few hundred feet from where the fire started. The school was dismissed early.

An overhead image from WABC-7 showed fire trucks and police vehicles around three buildings. Super Signal Company manufactures smoke generators.

The school day carried on with emergency personnel nearby.

“The fire is not at Salk but the students and staff will be sheltering in place until the situation is handled,” Old Bridge police said earlier. “The school and children are not in danger but due to the close proximity of the school, they will shelter in place.”

West Greystone Road remains closed through the area. Some homes in the area were evacuated for precautionary reasons.

Detectives from the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office are on the scene assisting the an Old Bridge fire marshal with the investigation, a prosecutor’s office spokeswoman said.

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