Everett, MA Beacon Oil Explosion, Feb 1928

STATE FIRE MARSHAL TO INVESTIGATE EXPLOSION.

NEAL WILL MAKE SWEEPING PROBE OF BLAST AND FIRE IN PLANT OF BEACON OIL CO. IN EVERETT -- AT LEAST TWELVE PERSONS DEAD.

Boston, Feb. 11 (AP) -- A sweeping investigation into the cause of the explosion and fire in the plant of the Beacon Oil Co., in Everett yesterday in which at least 12 persons lost their lives will be made by officials of the state fire marshal's office, Marshal George C. Neal, announced today. As soon as witnesses can be summoned an inquest will be held, he said.
The state fire marshal expressed the opinion that the disaster would not have occurred had proper care been taken in handling the explosive materials used in the business and he said all officials and employes who might have any information bearing on the explosion would be summoned to appear at the inquest.
"It does not seem to me," he said, "that such a thing should have happened if care was taken in the handling of the business. There is an unusual amount of oil stored there. While as yet we do not know the cause of the explosion I believe from the experience I have had in such matters that the fire could have been prevented."
Edward F. Horrigan, state fire inspector, who was sent to the scene immediately after the explosion occurred yesterday afternoon, was still there this forenoon but was expected to make his report during the day.

Compensation Insurance.
Boston, Feb. 11. -- (AP) -- Approximately $100,000 in compensation insurance, the largest amount ever paid out in Massachusetts as a result of a single disaster, will be paid to injured persons and dependents of those killed in the explosion and fire at the Beacon Oil Co. plant in Everett yesterday under provisions of the state workmen's compensation law. The payments, state officials and insurance men said today, would be made early next week.
Under the law widows with dependent children receive $6400 and those without children $4000, while injured employes receive as much as $6500 in the case of those totally disabled.

SEVERAL STILL UNACCOUNTED FOR.
Everett, Feb. 11, (AP) -- Ten men were known to be dead, at least half a dozen more were missing and as many again were in critical conditioni in various hospitals today as the result of the partial destruction late yesterday of the distillation plant of the Beacon Oil Co. here.
Eight of the dead had been identified and were:
PETER DAVIS, Somerville.
GEORGE DOHERTY, Everett.
MICHAEL BURGESS, Charlestown.
JOSEPH P. LANDRIGAN, Everett.
JOHN COLLINS, Cambridge.
MICHAEL GILLIGAN, Malden.
DONALD MacINTOSH, Everett.
PETER RAUSO, Everett.
All of the dead, missing and seriously injured were employes of the oil company. Two of the bodies remained unidentified and officials who said that they were charred beyond the possibility of recognition, expressed the belief that they might be those of men now listed as missing.
Those known to be missing today were:
DENNIS MURPHY, Everett.
HARRY HOOPER, Everett.
MATTHEW AYLWARD, South Boston.
JAMES DOLAN, Everett.
COLEMAN FLAHERTY, WInchester.
MERRILL (or MERRITT) FINCH, address undetermined.
In addition at least four other persons were tentatively listed as missing.
Throughout the night, firemen, policemen and other workers tirelessly searched the smoking ruins for additional bodies while sobbing groups of relatives besieged main gates of the big plant in quest of information or clustered about the undertaking rooms where the dead were being identified.

Continued on Page 2.

Comments

becon oil explosion

Donald MacIntosh was from Sherbrooke Nova Scotia and had moved to Evert to work for the company.He was the young gentleman who turned around and walked through a wall of oil fueled flames, than crawling on his hands and knees to shut of the valves of each remaining oil tank which prevented the loss of the city as quoted by the Fire Chief.I have a copy of the news paper article. My family has his ring that was found with his ashes {remains}.He was newly wedded. His shift was ending and he turned around and headed towards the inferno as his coworkers begged him to come back.
Mae MacIntosh
Halifax, Nova Scotia...(great neice) grandfathers brother

was there an earlier explosion?

I am researching events that occurred in Everett in the vicinity of Chemical Lane in the 1920's. My father's family history relates that his baby brother Gaetano, born in 1920 on Mystic Street, was two years old when he was killed by noxious fumes in a similar explosion in Everett. My father has passed but my aunt states that there was another explosion, perhaps at the Beacon Oil site in 1922 that also incurred several deaths. They lived in the area known as 'the Line' that was home to several industrial plants of the early 20th century, and were within shouting distance of those sites. I remember my dad saying that the windows of my grandmother's house were blown in and that his baby brother died from smoke inhalation of noxious fumes. Does anyone know of an earlier event as this in the city?

Correction

Hi Stu,

My grandfather was also one of the victims of the explosion, but his name was Peter Rauseo, not Peter Rauso. Not sure if the spelling error was in the original article or the transcription, but figured I'd post here so anyone reviewing the article could see the correction.

suggestion

Henry
My suggestion would be to "back search" the Beacon Oil Company or Corporation ..
you may have some luck doing that
Sincerely
Stu

Beacon oil company employees 1928

Hello Stu Beitier,
My father, John Robinson, worked for the Beacon Oil company in the fabrication shop in the late 20's. He was a blacksmith from Donegal, Ireland and was 26 years old at the time of the explosion in 1928. Is there a record of employees of that era? He bought a farm in Woburn after his employment with Beacon Oil . I was born in Woburn in 1926. I'd appreciate knowing how to obtain information on how long my father worked for Beacon Oil.
Henry J. Robinson, Anchorage, Alaska (robins@gci.net)

Beacon Oil Refining Plant Disaster, Everett, Mass., 1928

Hi Stu:
My grandfather died in that explosion. I had been looking on the internet for some time trying to find information on it. My father has an original copy of the Boston Globe with a front page story of the incident. He was two years old when it happened. My grandfather was Joseph P. Landrigan. It was nice that you mentioned him in your article, as well as my grandmother - Martha. Did you know that Mayor Roche and Bill Carrigan (manager of the Boston Red Sox) arranged a charity ball game for the families affected by the disaster? Bill Carrigan invited Babe Ruth to come and play. He agreed and brought his buddy Lou Gehrig. They played with some members of a minor league team from Everett, against some Red Sox rookies. The game took place in August 1928 in Glendale Park, Everett. It raised $10,000. My grandmother received $1,000 and took her kids home to Prince Edward Island where she bought a farm to raise her family on. My aunt Phyllis was born in September of that year. So my Grandmother have 4 young children to care for as well as a newborn. My father credits Babe Ruth with helping her to keep her family together during hard times. He said that it was the money from the Babe Ruth ball game as well as the small pension she got from Beacon Oil that helped them get through.

Thought you would be interested and thanks for the article. It seems that writing about disasters is a hobby for you.
Glenna (Landrigan) Jenkins, Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, Canada.