50 years ago: ‘2 tons of explosives go off unexpectedly,’ shaking island

In the Sept. 20, 1967 edition of the Caymanian Weekly, a precursor of the Cayman Compass, the following story, titled “2 tons of explosives go off unexpectedly,” appeared on the front page:

“About 2:25 a.m. on Sunday, there was a terrific explosion which was even felt on Cayman Brac. The Chief of Police was immediately informed by the Station Guard and the Police Land Rover was the first vehicle to arrive at the Quarry operated by Hadsphaltic at Spotts where the blast had occurred.

“The area was devastated and nothing whatever remains of the block building in which was housed a little over two tons of explosive 80% gelignite and 60% dynamite.

“The Caymanian is informed that the Police are not convinced that this was caused by heat and humidity and are endeavouring to trace a car which passed the scene about 10 minutes before the explosion.

“Some young men from East End whose car had broken down at Red Bay were affected by the blast and have made their report to the police.

“The Chief Fire Officer carried out an investigation at the scene soon after the occurrence and it appears that entry had been forced into another building by sawing through the hasp.

“It is conjectured that if there was foul play, a detonator could have been lowered through the vents in the roof or the main door could have been forced open.

“Fortunately, there appears to be little or no damage to the equipment which was dispersed about the area and the only ‘victim’ was a cat.

“On the same night, entry was forced into the Airport building and on the night when the storm was expected, the Drug Store was broken into and £7 in cash removed from the till. Not long ago, thieves entered the Snack Bar premises of Mr. A.B. Bush, attached to the Islander Theatre. Thus, it seems that ‘light-fingers’ are on the prowl again and the need for business premises to be properly protected by burglar bars should be reiterated.”

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