Most Disastrous Blaze Ever Experienced in Southern California Wells Section—One Man Dies as Result—Burnings of the Week

WHAT was said to be the most destructive oil fire ever experienced in Southern California broke out in the heart of the Santa Fe Springs oil fields on November 30. Resulting in the death of one man and the loss of over a million and a half dollars, the blaze originated from a leak in an oil pipe passing near machinery used in pumping a well owned by the Bellview Oil Company. The spray from the escaping oil was thrown upon the flames under the boiler of an engine, and in a moment the derrick was a flaming torch. All of the men at work on the well escaped just in time to avoid serious injury. About a minute later a large tank, one of the battery of reservoirs surrounding the well, exploded, drenching near-by derricks with flaming petroleum. The only fatality was that of a watchman on the property adjoining that involved, who died of heart failure induced by shock.

Fed by the oil released by the bursting of tanks, the fire spread with great rapidity and soon four other groups of derricks and tanks were blazing, accompanied by numerous explosions which marked the spreading of the fire.

Where a Leak in an Oil Supply Pipe Cost One Life and a Loss of Nearly $2,000,000. Fire in the Santa Fe Springs Oil Fields of California

In the meantime details from the fire departments of the various towns surrounding the field had been rushed to the scene, and these men joined forces with the oil company employees and volunteers in an attempt to prevent the further spread of the fire. In this work they were greatly hampered by the terrific heat thrown out by the burning oil and the danger from the heavy debris of the derricks, thrown high in the air by the explosions.

Finally, after a long and hard fight the blaze was declared under control and the danger of the wiping out of the entire field, which at one time seemed almost inevitable, was averted. The derricks and tanks involved in the blaze were entirely destroyed.

New System and Reservoir Planned for Yreka, Cal.—An election will be held January 6, at Yreka. Cal., a $56,000 bond issue for the construction of a municipal water supply system that will call for the construction of a new reservoir.

Commission Has Authorized Blythville, Ark., Co. Bonds— The Arkansas Railroad Commission has authorized the Consumers’ Water Company supplying Blythville, Ark., to issue $300,000 water bonds, $90,000 of which will be issued at once.

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