April 07, 2012

April 6, 1968, explosion changed Richmond
Residents mourned and recovered together

In a single instance in Richmond's history, lives were lost and changed, the landscape altered and, later, laws were affected.

Forty-four years ago, at 1:47 p.m. on April 6, 1968, a sunny Saturday afternoon was shattered when a pair of explosions unleashed an inferno at Sixth and East Main streets.

Forty-one people -- ages 7 to 72 -- died.

More than 120 other people were injured.

The tragedy was centered at Marting Arms, a sporting goods store, but immediately damaged surrounding buildings, eventually destroying 15.

Investigators said the incident might have started when a spark of unknown origin ignited natural gas from a leaking pipe. That then set off the gunpowder and ammunition stored in Marting Arms. However, the explosion eliminated all evidence.
Read more:  http://www.pal-item.com/article/20120406/NEWS01/204060314/April-6-1968-explosion-changed-Richmond?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE