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1933 - 7 Are Dead, 19 Missing In Refinery Explosion In Signal Hills Field

Blast Rocks Long Beach, Previous Sufferer From Earthquake, and Is Felt 30 Miles Away.

LONG BEACH, Cal., June 2 (AP). - Seven persons were burned to death, nineteen were treated at hospitals for injuries and ten others are missing following a terrific explosion Friday in the Meader absorption plant of the Richfield Oil Company in the Signal Hill field near here.

The blast, which rocked the city and destroyed homes in the immediate vicinity of the refinery, was felt for thirty miles around and plate-glass windows were shattered as far away as three miles.

Fire fighters brought the resulting blaze under control four hours after the first of two blasts. They estimated damage around $350,000.

There were two explosions. The first, a minor blast, was believed to have been in one of the compressors. The gas released from high pressure shot thirty feet into the air and was ignited by the blazing boilers of the D'Angei Oil Company rig near by, bringing about the second, two minutes later.

The dead are: Ed Weiler, 35, oil worker; Duke Gaughan, oil worker; C. J. Brown, oil worker; Charles Cope, oil worker; J. L. Shumway, oil worker; Mrs. Lottie Carlyon, Long Beach, and Marilyn Carlyon, 8, Long Beach.

The effect of the explosion was described by the Rev. J. E. McDonald, retired Baptist minister, who was among the injured. He said:

"I was sitting in my home and it just seemed to fall around me."

The fire, swept before a sharp breeze, covered more than a block before the flames were brought under control. Two homes were burned to the ground, as well as oil rigs of the Italo, Hancock and D'Angelo companies.

Six Trapped in Refinery.

Six men were known to have been in the refinery at the time of the second blast, while a number of workers at surrounding oil derricks were unreported late at night. Five charred bodies, all identified, were taken from the Richfield plant ruins.

Mrs. Lottie Carlyon and her 8-year-old daughter were caught in their home as the flames burst forth with the second blast, and were burned to death. The husband and father, Thomas F. Carlyon, and another daughter were downtown when the explosion occurred.

Walls were blown out of the side of the stucco houses and a number of frame structures collapsed from the terrific blast.

Of the injured, one was reported to be in critical condition. He was Howard Hargrove, 40, a truck driver for the Richfield Oil Company, who suffered serious burns.

The Dallas Morning News
Dallas, Texas
June 3, 1933

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