Shutdown May Follow Milk Plant Explosion
Branchville--Possibility of a complete shutdown
of the Branchville plant of the Sussex Milk and Cream Company loomed
today (Thursday) as the result of a boiler explosion and fire at the
plant on Tuesday which has at present temporarily closed the plant.
The boiler ruptured shortly before 10 a.m. Tuesday,
according to Russell Walker, an employee, when both a water injector
and safety valve failed to operate, creating a huge fire and pressure
inside the boiler. Another employee, Russell Smith, escaped injury when
he leaped through a window as the boiler exploded, Walker said.
Two hours after the boiler explosion, Branchville firemen
were called to extinguish a blaze which broke out in the attic of the
building over the boiler room area. Damage was confined to rafters and
a smoke stack, Walker said. He estimated damage to the boiler at over
As a result of the explosion and fire, Walker said,
company officials are meeting today in New York to determine if it is
worthwhile to repair or replace the damaged boiler, or to completely
shut down the plant in view of the lessening milk market in the area.
Walker said the present three employees and the superintendent would
be absorbed in the Sussex and Blairstown plants if the directors decided
on a shutdown. Meanwhile, he said, two employees are taking their vacations
now and the remaining two will be sent to Sussex and Blairstown to work.
A total of 54 farmers who have been delivering milk
to the Branchville plant were advised yesterday (Wednesday) to take
their milk beginning today (Thursday) to either Sussex or Blairstown,
with 50 scheduled for Sussex and four for Blairstown.