Remembering the Morristown library explosion, two years later: ‘It needs to stop’

Destruction in basement near source of May 2010 explosion at the Morristown/Township Library. Photo courtesy HMR Architects.
Destruction in basement near source of May 2010 explosion at the Morristown/Township Library. Photo courtesy HMR Architects.
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Two years ago, on a dreary Monday morning with weather like today’s, the Morristown & Township Library exploded. The alert staff had sensed trouble coming and evacuated the building moments before the blast buckled a floor, blew out windows and splintered furniture.

Destruction in basement near source of May 2010 explosion at the Morristown/Township Library. Photo courtesy HMR Architects.
Destruction in basement near source of May 2010 explosion at the Morristown/Township Library. Photo courtesy HMR Architects.

After nearly $5 million in repairs, the library will be celebrating the re-opening of its 1917 wing on Saturday at 11 am. While denying responsibility for the incident, utility companies have re-designed their power feeds to the building in ways they say will minimize chances of a repeat disaster. And under state pressure, Jersey Central Power & Light is addressing serious problems in manholes that have plagued the downtown area.

But the library’s insurer, Traveler’s Insurance, still has not disclosed results of its investigation into what caused the explosion. The state Board of Public Utilities was denied access to the scene, according to a spokesman. Public officials have promised answers–but the public still has not been told what caused a major blast in 1994.

“It needs to stop. Plain and simple, it needs to stop,” Maria Norton said of the explosions in the video above, shot on May 3, 2010. She was assistant director at the time, preparing to assume the library director’s job.

In our other video clip from that eventful morning, Morristown Fire Chief Gary Desjadon, now retired, describes the damage and commends the library staff for its quick action.

The library then and now… please click icon below for captions.

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