Long Island City, NY Oil Tank Blaze, Sep 1919
VAST AREA SWEPT BY L. I. OIL FIRE; DAMAGE MOUNTING.
DESTRUCTION TO DATE IS ESTIMATED AT BETWEEN $5,000,000 AND $10,000,000 -- FIRE STILL BURNING -- 50 INJURED.
WORK IN SHORT SHIFTS -- SPECTACULAR DEEDS OF HEROISM -- MAYOR HYLAN STANDS NEAR EXPLODING TANK -- PRAISES WORKERS.
New York, Sept. 14. -- With more than 50 persons injured and the damage already done estimated at from $5,000,000 to $10,000,000, weary fire fighters still were fighting tonight a threat of further explosions of oil tanks at the scene of the fire which practically wiped out the STONE and FLEMING Oil Co's plant in Long Island City yesterday.
Five tanks of crude oil were burning late today. Should there be a sudden shift in the wind from north to northwest, many additional tanks in plants nearby will be threatened as well as thousands of tons of coal.
The firemen were working in short shifts. So exhausted had they become, that when relieved for a brief rest, they lay in the streets near the fire zone and went fast asleep.
Like Devastated France.
The twenty acres of fire swept territory looked like a zone in war-devastated France or Belgium. Tanks were crumpled up, huge steel girders lay in a tangled mass, few walls were left standing, and burning oil continued to flow along the surface of Newtown creek.
There were many spectacular deeds of heroism. Early today Lieutenant LOUIS SEMANSKY threw a rubber coat over his head, rushed through the flames and turned off three valves, preventing the flow of burning oil from tank to tank. Another tank blew up a few minutes afterward and had it not been for SEMANSKY'S courage, three more undoubtedly would have gone.
THOMAS WHITCOME of the fire boat New Yorker was fighting the fire in a tank this morning when the structure fell and burning gasoline was thrown into Newtown creek. WHITCOME tried to jump into the fire boat, but blinded by dense smoke fell into the water, the surface of which was covered with blazing oil.
Three Are Saved.
Hearings his screams, Fireman BENJAMIN MOORE jumped overboard to rescue him. Fireman FRANK LANNON also seized a rubber coat, and jumped but struck the two men in his dive. This submerged the men and put out the flames which were enveloping them. LENNON then threw the coat over the men and they were hoisted aboard the boat to safety.
Bridgeport Standard Telegram Connecticut 1919-09-15