Monaca, PA Gas Explosion, Jan 1970


Monaca, Pa. (AP) - An empty gasoline storage tank, unearthed from a service station in this Beaver County community exploded, burning two workers who were sawing it open.
MICHAEL MANCINI, 37, was in critical condition and RONALD DeVAUGHN, 42, in serious condition at the West Penn Hospital burn unit following their transfer from the Medical Center in Beaver, said West Penn nursing supervisor Dora Walker.
Monaca police Chief Lawrence Conti said he saw a plume of flame 5 to 6 feet long shooting from one end of the 4,000-gallon cylindrical tank when he arrived at the scene shortly after the explosion occurred Monday.
Monaca Fire Marshal Gary Venn said the tanks were being removed by workers of Petroleum Equipment Services of Ross, under contract with Pennzoil Products Co., after the Pennzoil station operator, Steven Cogis, closed his business for the last time Friday.
The chief said he was investigating the possibility that the crew did not follow correct safety procedures in venting fumes from the tank before attempting to cut off the ends and truck it away. The explosion occurred as one end of the tank was being removed, he said.

Oshkosh Daily Northwestern Wisconsin 1970-01-26