Jersey City, NJ Oil Works Explosion, May 1883
THE STANDARD OIL WORKS AT JERSEY CITY STRUCK BY LIGHTNING.
SEVEN TANKS OF BLAZING OIL RUN FIERCELY INTO NEW YORK BAY.
SIX FIREMEN KILLED BY THE EXPLOSION OF AN OIL TANK.
New York, May 10. -- The Standard Oil works of Jersey City were struck by lightning early this morning. Seven oil tanks have already exploded. The fire is still raging with terrible force. More disaster is feared. The estimated loss is $500,000.
The fire at the Standard Oil Company's works, at Jersey City, is still raging and is now near the tanks of the Jersey Central track, where 150,000 barrels of oil are stored. Thus far 500,000 barrels of oil have been destroyed, including 250,000 barrels of refined stored in the store house. It is now thought the loss will reach $750,000.
Jersey City, May 10. -- 11:30 a.m. -- The oil fire is still raging. The Eagle refinery is in danger. If the winds continue to southease the remaining buildings may be saved. Six lives were lost.
The burning works of the Standard Oil company at Communipaw are the most extensive in this country, and about one-half of the property is now destroyed. The fire started during a severe storm this morning. One of the large tanks, near the shore, was struck by lightning and exploded. The burning oil poured out like an angry river and flowed down the avenues, between rows of enormous tanks, towards the river. In a short time the flames communicated with those huge tanks and they exploded simultaneously with a terrific force. Fragments of iron were hurled a distance of half a mile and the burning oil was scattered in all directions.
The entire fire department has been summoned, but their services are almost useless. As the burning streams of oil poured through the yard they fired the tank on the east side, and licked up the buildings. The store house, a structure where barreled oil was kept, was attacked by the flames and succumbed. The engine house went next, and the oil and water pump houses, sunken tanks and machine shop quickly followed, and the whole east side of the works is a seething mass of flames. Despite the tremendous heat and blinding smoke, the firemen are working valiently in hope of checking the progress of the flames, but it appears at this hour that the vast works will be destroyed, and it is feared the flames will reach out and consume the properties in the neighborhood.
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