Linden, NJ Oil Refinery Explosion, Mar 1979
SIX OIL REFINERY WORKERS HURT AS EXPLOSION, FIRE HIT PLANT.
Linden, N.J. (UPI) -- Six Exxon oil refinery workers escaped serious injury today in a fire and explosion that jolted people sleeping in homes up to four miles away.
The fire and explosion in a 90-foot processing unit at the 1,500 acre complex sent flames and smoke hundreds of feet into thenight sky. The complex is near the Goethals Bridge, which connects Staten Island and the neighboring city of Elizabeth.
At least six of the estimated 100 workers on duty in various parts of the complex were injured, a company spokesman said.
Only two were hurt seriously enough to require hospitalization, however, MICHAEL COSTELLO, 29, of South Belmar and EUGENE VYKA, 28, of Piscataway, were admitted to the Alexian Brothers Hospital in stable condition with first and second degree burns of the hands and face.
Fifty firemen from the Linden Fire Department managed to prevent the flames from spreading to oil storage tanks at the plant, which processes about 275,000 barrels of crude oil daily into lighter oils and gasoline products.
The cause of the 12:30 a.m. blast was not immediately known. Linden Deputy Fire Chief George Miller said his men were able to confine the blaze by 2 a.m.
Residents of Linden, neighboring Elizabeth and in Staten Island reported being awakened by the blast and seeing flames and smoke shooting hundreds of feet in the air from as far as 4 miles away.
A police spokesman said two police cars patrollingin the vicinity of the refinery reported seeing flames coming from the plant about 12:30 a.m.
"Ten to 15 seconds later, it blew," the spokesman said. "It shook City Hall" about a mile and a half away.
At the request of Linden police, the exit ramps on the New Jersey Turnpike to Linden-Elizabeth area were closed to motorists in order to facilitate emergency procedures.
The injured were taken by ambulance to area hospitals for treatment. A spokeswoman at St. Elizabeth Hospital said three Exxon employees were being treated in the emergency room for minor injuries.
Daily Intelligencer Doylestown Pennsylvania 1979-03-20