Atlantic City, NJ Gasoline Explosion, July 1937



Atlantic City, N.J., July 16. -- (US) -- More than 100 persons were injured, some seriously today, when 40,000 gallons of gasoline exploded and shot skyward from storage tanks at the Pure Oil company's plant here.
The flaming liquid dropped over a full city block, showering fire fighters, spectators and employes of the company and setting fire to a coal yard and an oil plant adjoining.

Damage Is Heavy.
A general alarm was sounded bringing every piece
of city fire apparatus to the scene. No accurate estimate of damage was immediately obtainable.
But firemen said it would run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The first blast occurred shortly before 3 p.m., in a 10,000 gallon gasoline storage tank. The roar shook an area for blocks around, and the streets surrounding the tank were converted into rivers of flaming fuel.
Within a 10-minute period six other explosions occurred blasting 10,000 and 5,000 gallon gasoline storage tanks. By that time, thousands of resort visitors and additional thousands of residents were at the scene. Police had difficulty
keeping the fire lines intact.

35 Firemen Burned.
Shortly before 4 p.m. after at least 35 firemen were put out of action by burns and injuries, Fire Chief Joseph Leeds announced no further attempt would be made to save the Pure Oil plant. He directed his remaining men to concentrate on surrounding buildings that were fired by the blasts.
The plant is located in the inlet section of Atlantic City and a stiff breeze carried acid fumes, smoke and burning embers to all parts of the city.
The Atlantic City hospital with its limited facilities was not able to care for the stream of injured brought by patrol wagon, ambulance and private automobile. Some of the injured were given emergency treatment at a contagious disease hospital while others were aided on the scene by doctors and nurses. The cause of the first explosion could not be determined.

Charleston Gazette West Virginia 1937-07-17