Jersey City, NJ Oil Plant Explosion, Aug 1915

OIL PLANT BLAST KILLS ONE; TWO DYING; 5 HURT.

LIQUID FIRE ENGULFS MEN WHEN 64 GALLONS OF GASOLINE EXPLODES.

CHEMIST, BURNED, STICKS TO POST.

OTHER EMPLOYES RESCUE THE INJURED AND BEAT OUT FLAMES IN CLOTHING.

One man was burned to death, two were so badly scorched that they will not live until morning and five others were injured yesterday afternoon by the explosion of a big tank of gasolene in the laboratory of the Eagle Oil Works, Cavan Point, Jersey City.
They are:
WILLIAM SCHULZ, laborer, 46 West Twenty-Second Street, Bayonne, N. J.; burned to death.
MICHAEL HYLE, laborer, 243 Warren Street, Jersey City; dying from burns in St. Francis's Hospital.
MICHAEL RUFER, laborer, 206 Washington Street, Elizabeth; dying from burns in St. Francis's Hospital.
WALTER HAY, chief chemist, 15 West Forty-Third Street, Bayonne; burned on hands and shoulders.
JOSEPH HERMAN, laborer, 228 Graham Street, Jersey City; lacerated scalp.
FRED NICHOLAS, laborer, 10 Feidler Street, Jersey City; badly bruised.
JOSEPH SALSERDO, laborer, 440 Avenue C, Bayonne; scalp wounds and bruises.
HERMAN WILKING, laborer, 313 Communipaw Avenue, Jersey City; arms, chest and back scorched.
THe cause of the explosion is not known. SCHULZ was tightening a valve on a 64-gallon drum of gasoline and the others were working about the laboratory when it occurred. It is believed that a spark generated by the friction of the valve screw ignited the gasoline. With a crash and a roar the big tank leaped into the air like a rocket, blowing liquid flame over SCHULZ, HYLE and RUFER as it did so, and smashed against the ceiling.
HYLE and RUFER managed to get clear of the lake of flame which spread over the floor. Their companions, who had been stunned by the concussion, managed to beat out their flaming clothing. SCHULZ lay in the middle of the blaze until it burned itself out.
The fire ran along the floor and ignited a number of oil barrels standing in one corner. These were extinguished by other employes, who hurried to the rescue. A hurry call was sent for ambulances from the Jersey City and St. Francis hospitals. HYLE and RUFER were so terribly burned that it was said last night they could not live until morning. The others had their wounds dressed by surgeons and went home.
SCHULZ'S charred body was taken to the Jersey City morgue, where it will remain until his wife claims it. He was an old employe of the company.
It is estimated that about $1,000 worth of damage was done to the laboratory. MR. HAY, the chief chemist, although badly burned, refused to go home. He remained to superintend the repair work, which was started immediately. The Eagle Oil Company is a subsidiary of the Standard Oil Company.

New York Tribune New York 1915-08-17