Brooklyn, NY Liquid Oxygen Truck Explosion, May 1970


New York (AP) -- A tank truck loaded with liquid oxygen exploded outside a Brooklyn hospital Saturday, killing two men and injuring about 30 people.
The blast shattered windows in Victory Hospital and about 20 surrounding apartment houses, shaking some people out of bed on a peaceful holiday morning.
All of the injured were cut by flying window glass. Most were patients or staff members at the 117-bed
hospital, police said, and several were evacuated to undamaged rooms.
Wolfgang Reich, who had been watching from his apartment bedroom, said it sounded "like a bomb."
Phillip Josephs, 22, who was washing his car about 200 feet away, said he heard a hissing noise and a loud bang and saw flames shoot into the air.
He ran down the tree-lined street to turn in the fire alarm at the corner box.
Firemen quickly extinguished the blaze. They said they did not know its cause, and believed it to be the first such explosion in the city's history.
The dead were identified as EDWARD GRAVES, 22, the truck driver, whose clothes were blown off, and STEVE PASCALE, 57, a Brooklyn plumber, who was in a shack on a construction project near the hospital.
Police said they found a receipt in the truck's cab for 380 gallons of oxygen delivered to Victory Hospital. Officials said such deliveries are routine and that most hospitals and other buildings which use liquid oxygen have outside storage tanks.
The truck was owned by Liquid Carbonic of Paterson, N.J., a subsidiary of General Dynamics Corp., police said. It hold 2,800 gallons, and GRAVES had planned to make deliveries to other hospitals.
Mayor John V. Lindsay ordered a full investigation.
In an unconnected incident several hours earlier, an explosion ripped a two-foot hole in a trailer at the World Trade Center, under construction in lower Manhattan. Police said it was a bomb. No injuries were reported.

Syracuse Herald Journal New York 1970-05-31