DESTROYED BY A RIVER OF BURNING OIL.
The destruction of the town of Red Rock, Pa., last week by a river of burning oil, was one of the most remarkable events in the history of conflagrations. It was the most destructive fire that ever occurred in that vicinity, and the brilliance of the illumination was observed for a distance of over six miles. Eighty buildings were burned, the district covering over twelve acres. The total loss is estimated at $160, 000- insurance light. A well on the side hill had been cleaned out preparatory to torpedoing, the tubing being left out of the well. One of the hands passing by with a lantern the gas caught, consuming the rig and destroying a 250-barrel tank of til. The fluid ran down the hilt and communicated with a tank owned by E. O. Emerson and containing 25,000 barrels of oil. The monster iron tank burned for hours. It was located in a position that commanded the heart of the town. Embankments were thrown up and every precaution taken to save the place from destruction, but without avail. The Bradford fire companies were sent for, but at a late hour it was believed that the tank would not burst, and the men were sent home.
Between three and four o’clock next morning the upper bands of the great tank fell in with a crash and the tank burst. The burning oil ran out ; a huge fiery wave jumped high over the embankments, and spreading to the extent of three hundred feet, swept through the heart of the town, which literally melted away before the heat. The burning oil coursed through the streets fully four feet in depth. A wave of fire would bound against a house, jump over the roof, and in less time than it would take to write a description of the disaster, the entire town was in flames. It was truly a grand sight. Had it not been for the alarm sounded about midnight the loss of life would have been great. As it was people had barely time to escape with their lives. The burning oil swept through the town like a tidal wave. Little or nothing was saved. Not a store or saloon is left standing and over one hundred families are homeless to-night. The destruction was complete. The trestle of the Olean, Bradford and Warren Railroad was burned and trains were delayed.
Two hundred families were rendered homeless by this disaster, losing, also, all their furniture and supplies. Residents of neighboring towns provided them with temporary shelter, and liberal contributions were made for their support. Red Rock was one of the small oil-towns of Pennsylvania, being dependent upon the oil-producing interest. It was constructed entirely of wood. The disaster which has overtaken it was one that could not have been foreseen, and, consequently, could not have been provided against. That a phenomenon of nature, in the shape of a well spouting gas should lead to the destruction of the town, was not to have been anticipated, and no amount of fire apparatus could have saved the town from the river of burning oil that ran through the streets. Red Rock was doomed as certainly as those towns located on the side of Mount Vesuvius, when that erratic mountain gets a fit of eruption, and belches forth flames and smoke and ashes, that destroy cities and towns by fire, or bury them out of sight under mountains of ashes.
“ THE FIREMAN’S DAUGHTER ” is the title of a serial story to be commenced in THE JOURNAL January^. Now is the time to subscribe.