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Staten Island, NY Explosion, Feb 1973

Staten Island NY 2-10-1973 nat gas explosion.jpg

GARRAPUTA, 31, was treated for a cut at the scene, as was JOSEPH PECORA, 40. The hospitalized CARROLL got out seconds before the blast, but his brother WILLIAM, 30, was among those trapped in the fiery bottom.
The names of men unaccounted for were being compiled by police as family members streamed to an emergency center set up at a police station.
Many of the families making inquiries were from Staten Island, the Astoria section of Queens and from Newark, N. J.
The 600,000-barrel storage facility is owned by Texas Easter Cryogenic Inc., a subsidiary of Texas Eastern Transmission Co., a natural gas company of Houston. It is located on a 53-acre marshland site opposite New Jersey and measures 267 feet across the base.
Six years ago, Fire Commissioner Robert O. Lowery opposed construction of the liquified gas storage tank as a potential fire hazard. In recent weeks, Staten Island members of the City Council had opposed Texas Eastern's request to build eight similar tanks on another Staten Island site.
The blast, whose impact tossed debris across the Arthur Kill into New Jersey, came at 1:12 p. m. as workmen from a contracting firm were making repairs on the insulation deep inside the cone.
Chief O'Hagan said fire officials were checking reports that cries of "fire, fire, fire" had been heard inside the tank moments before the blast.
A Texas Eastern spokesman in Houston said that the company was "at a loss as to how an explosion could have occurred" and said a company official was en route to the scene. A reporter team from a local newspaper had gone into the tank the day before and side it was empty.
As the afternoon wore on, firefighters hoisted a crane atop the tank and several times firemen were lowered into the smoke-filled cone to look for survivors. They saw none.
Two workmen who were outside the cone at the time of the blast were among the injured. They were JOHN CARROLL, 31, and JOSEPH PECORA, 40. Both were in good condition with minor injuries.
Among natural gas tank explosions, the worst on record is a blast and fire that killed 131 persons on Oct. 20, 1944 at an East Ohio gas storage plant in Cleveland, Ohio.
The blast at the Staten Island tank, which went into service in 1970, brought hospital disaster units, firefighter boats and hundreds of firemen to the scene.

Syracuse Herald-American New York 1973-02-13

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