B.F. Goodrich Sponge Rubber Factory Fire – March 1st, 1975 (Currently the Shelton Riverwalk)
44 years ago an enormous blaze roared through the B.F. Goodrich Sponge Rubber mattress factory in what was one of the largest industrial arson in our nation’s history. 3,000 people lost their jobs in what was ruled a fire set by the factory owners 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.
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.
Several gasoline drums wrapped in explosives were ignited, ripping through the walls and floors of Plant #4, which was the hub of the complex where mattresses, pillows, and flotation devices were manufactured.
The plant was empty, except for two security guards and a boiler room attendant. No one was killed.
Eight men who had served on the company’s board of directors, we’re convicted of the “firebombing.” The former Sponge Rubber Products owner, Charles Moeller, was acquitted in both state and federal courts even though prosecutors say he organized the arson.