Grease Compounding Plant Destroyed by Fire
Damage of $750,000 was caused by a five-hour fire which destroyed the main buildings of the Pure Oil Company grease compounding plant at Marcus Hook, Pa., Sept. 4. Thousands of barrels of high test aviation gasoline and other products in storage tanks nearby were threatened. Nearly all the plant’s products are turned over to the armed forces.
Discovered shortly after 4 p.m., firemen soon gave up attempts to save the blazing building and turned their attention toward the threatened tanks of gasoline and oil. Smoke drifted down the Delaware river for five miles and there were brilliant flames of orange, green and blue, caused by sulphur which is used in the manufacture of the lubricants.
After a stiff battle fire fighters saved 10,000 barrels of high test aviation gasoline in the yard and 1,000 barrels of oil. ready for shipment, as well as tanks of both the Pure Oil Company and Sun Oil Company. Four loaded freight cars containing high octane gas were on a platform near the fire but were hauled to safety by a shifting engine dispatched by the Pennsylvania railroad.
An electric flash from a motor is believed the cause of the fire which soon spread to 750 gallons of oil used in the processing of grease. Despite the fact the building was of fireproof construction, the fire rode along the greasy floors and down elevator shafts and stairways.
Responding on the first alarm were volunteers of the Marcus Hook No. 1 and Viscose Co. Other volunteer companies came from Linwood, Trainer, Boothwyn and the Franklyn and Felton companies from Chester. Seventy-five Coast Guardsmen gave assistance and four fire boats were on the scene.