The Real Tragedy Behind Blood Orange


He had heard about my writing and came to me with the germ of an idea for a terrorism thriller based on an actual historical event that occurred near the city where we both grew up, Syracuse, New York.

In July of 1918, the munitions plant at Split Rock, New York caught fire and exploded killing dozens of people and devastating the spirit of the city for some time to come.

Blood Orange takes this event and expands on it placing a secret military facility under the munitions plant where very early nuclear and radioactivity research was being conducted. Rather than rescue the scientists that were present in the underground facility, the government at the time chose to deny the existence of such a facility and leave the men and women working there to perish. The radioactive material stored there comes into play later in the book.

What I set out to do was to draw a parallel between the devastating effect of the Split Rock explosion on the city with a modern-day terrorist attack on a soft target, The Carrier Dome, a venerable landmark in Syracuse.

It was both enjoyable and challenging to write a book with roots in a historical event. It required a good deal of research. I’ve included some of the actual before and after photos of the Split Rock site to help ground the concept for this book in reality.

This is the 140 foot long TNT building. It was 78 feet wide with 60 foot towers. The fire started in the tower on the right.

After the explosion, the destruction was massive. Many workers were vaporized and maimed.

This monument was put in place to commemorate the event that devastated the city.

If you’re interested in reading more about this and see how it was adapted into a terrorism thriller, you can pick up Blood Orange today.

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