Penn Horn City, NY Explosion and Fire, Dec 1867

Explosion and Conflagration at Penn Horn City--Three Men Burned.

About 8:30 o'clock yesterday morning a conflagration broke out in the extensive oil refineries of Messrs, WARDEN & CO., (of No. 34 Pine-street, New York,) situated at Penn Horn City, on the line of the Erie Railway, some four miles from Hoboken, caused by the explosion of a large tank of naptha{sic}, resulting in the destruction of a large amount of property and injury to three men. It appears that two of the employes{sic}, RICHARD GIBBONS and JOHN McBRIDE, were engaged in emptying a carboy of oil of vitriol into the treating tank located on the second story of the building, and which contained 80 barrels of naphtha, when an explosion occurred, carrying away the roof of the building and scattering the fluid, which had taken fire, in all directions. GIBBONS and McBRIDE, who were standing partially over the tank, spreading over their persons, ignited their clothing. GIBBONS jumped out of the end window, and McBRIDE succeeded in making his way down the stairs to the open air, when some of the workmen extinguished the flames. Both men were badly injured about the chest and head, GIBBONS dangerously. They were at once conveyed to their homes in Hudson City. The Superintendent, J. C. EASTMAN, who was on the fires floor fo the treating-house, was also burned, but not seriously.

The fire almost instantly communicated with a wooden building in front containing two settling tanks, four immense ground tanks on the west side of the building, and thence communicated to the still-house, containing five tanks. All the tanks were filled with oil, besides which there were 600 barrels of refined oil, 150 barrels of naptha{sic}, 100 barrels of tar, about 20 carboys of oil of vitriol, and a large number of empty barrels, all of which were destroyed. The two buildings were of brick, one of them two stories and the other a high one-story building. Three of the Hudson City fire companies repaired to the scene and directed their attention toward preventing the fire from communicating with the refineries on the opposite side of the creek. About two thousand barrels of oil were destroyed, besides a large amount of machinery and fixtures. The loss is estimated at $50,000, upon which there was an insurance, but the amount and names of the companies could not be ascertained.

The New York Times, New York, NY 20 Dec 1867