Firefighters Killed in Massive Explosion 54 Years Ago Remembered in Monroe County

SMITHFIELD TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- 54 years ago on June 26, a massive explosion in Monroe County claimed the lives of six people.

The explosion was said to be so massive that it rattled homes miles away. Of the six who were killed, three were firefighters.

Tuesday night, they were remembered by current members of the company.

As the siren sounded shortly after 6 p.m., current members of the Marshalls Creek Volunteer Fire Company hung their heads and remembered the fateful morning of June 26, 1964.

"This is a part of the Marshalls Creek Fire Company history," said Assistant Fire Chief Eugene Berry. "Every department has its history. Some uneventful, others, massively eventful."

Just after 4 a.m. that day, Marshalls Creek Fire Company responded to a tractor-trailer fire on Route 209 just north of Marshalls Creek near East Stroudsburg. Shortly after their arrival, the trailer, which was carrying several tons of dynamite exploded, claiming the lives of three firefighters and three civilians.

"It would have looked like a moon crater," Berry added. "Like a crater on the moon is the way it's been described to me."

On the 50th anniversary of June 26, 1964, a monument was erected remembering Earl Miller, Leonard Mosier, and Edward Hines. Current members of the fire company say that every time they come to work, they remember the three men.

"Every call, anything that really has to do with a tractor-trailer, it's always kind of in the back of your mind," fire chief, Joseph Luisi said. "You're always thinking about what they went through and what you can go through."

The tractor-trailer that exploded had no cargo markings on it, so the Marshalls Creek Fire Company had no idea what was inside because the driver fled the scene. the tragic incident forever changed the methods in how truck's carry cargo.

"It's a good thing that the markings came out of it because now it's mandatory," volunteer firefighter, Patrick Lapater said. "So, some good came out of the bad."

Reports from the time of the explosion state that a crater was formed that was 10 feet deep and 40 feet wide. The explosion also rocked a nearby reptile farm. Many exotic snakes got loose, while others were killed in the blast.