Newark Civil Servants

Old Newark

July 7, 1951

From Robert Baptista:
I was living in Elizabeth at the time of the explosion but was too young to recall it now. My online newspaper archive indicates it happened at 1PM July 7, 1951 at the Warren Petroleum Co. 82 acre tank farm on Newark Bay. 125 Propane tanks blew up causing a fire that took six hours to bring under control. Flames shot up hundreds of feet and the smoke was visible to people in Manhattan skyscrapers and on Brooklyn beaches. Heat and a concussion shock wave were felt five miles away. The fire blew up seven rail tankcars on a siding next to Warren. A section of a tankcar flew a half-mile, landing on a gas station which ignited. Seventy-five men were working at the Warren site. Eleven men were injured but no lives were lost. The victims were treated at St. James Hospital. Property damage to Warren Petroleum and nearby plants was estimated at $5 million. Except for a favorable wind, 1.5 million gallons of gasoline stored at the Atlantic Petroleum Co. would have blown up. The cause of the explosion was not immediately known but all possibilites were being investigated including sabotage.