Paulsboro, NJ Oil Plant Explosion, Aug 1941

TWO INJURED IN OIL PLANT BLAST.

HOUDRY PROCESS PLANT AT PAULSBORO SCENE OF FIVE EXPLOSIONS.

Five rapid explosions today shattered the high octane plant of the Socony-Vacuum Oil Company refinery in Paulsboro, N. J., where millions gallons of top-grade gasoline are being manufactured for the nation's armed forces and shipment abroad. Paulsboro is across the Delaware River from Essington.
Two men were injured seriously and several others were believed hurt. Company officials, however, declined to make known details of cause or extent of the blast which shook Paulsboro and the neighboring countryside for miles around.
Those taken to hospitals were FRANK WILLIAMS, 31, of Oaklyn, and JOSEPH BERNISKY, 37, of Gibbstown. Both suffered burns of the upper parts of their bodies.
The explosions apparently occurred in the stabilizer building of the Houdry Process plant whose capacity is 63,000,000 gallons of high octane fuel annually. Just recently a huge shipment of gasoline was made from the refinery to Soviet Russia, company authorities said. The plant was erected a year ago to replace older buildings.
Company guards posted at the gates of the fence-enclosed arera refused admittance to hundreds attracted to the scene by the blasts. Plant firemen extinguished flames which followed the detonations, the first of which occurred at 5:45 a.m. and "woke up the whole town."
The second explosion was of gun-shot sharpness and intensity. It was followed by three muffled blasts, all of which occurred within a few seconds.

Chester Times Pennsylvania 1941-08-23