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Oil Fires on the Hill - Signal Hill, CA
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member bluesnote
N 33° 48.011 W 118° 09.896
11S E 392166 N 3740610
Quick Description: A plaque that explains the many famous fires that occurred on this very spot, due to the oil fields.
Location: California, United States
Date Posted: 12/15/2014 4:56:58 PM
Waymark Code: WMN2YF
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member saopaulo1
Views: 1

Long Description:
The plaque says, "High concentrations of natural gas posed a constant danger to oilmen developing the Signal Hill Field in the form of "gassers". "Gushers." Gas Flares and Fires when Shell Oil Company completed its second well in 1921, it was a "Gasser" that blew out and caught fire. The flames shot 125 feet in the are and were visible from 12 miles away on land and 30 miles out in the sea. The "Gasser", which flowed natural gas at an estimated 20 million cubic feet per day, was finally extinguished by using 17 steam boilers over 36 hours. 100 pounds of dynamite snuffed out the flames of the Marin #1, another Shell well that blew in as a "gasser".

The black and drake well near Walnut and Willow (to the left of this view shed) was a huge "Gusher". During the month it blew uncontrolled. It spewed a lake of oil about 30 feet in diameter. The "Gusher" blew rocks through adjacent homes burying the neighborhood 4-5 feet deep.

Gas flares were common enough that many wells did not need any other lighting to operate at night when conditions like a wintry cold fog trapped it low to the ground. The Raw gas became a time bomb. Any spark (cigarette, automobile, etc.) could have explosive effects.

In 1933, a blast of fumes at the Richfield Meander plant near lime and 27th killed eight people and destroyed several nearby homes and derricks. In 1968, a 40-hour oil froth fire burned 27 of 33 acres of the Hancock Oil Co Refinery, killing two and causing $9 million in damage. The small city of Signal Hill probably faces the most difficult fire hazards of any city its size in the state. The city is proud of the memory of its old fire department, which comprised a fire chief and about a dozen men, and developed techniques for fighting oil fires that resulted in a remarkably low rate of fire destruction."
Type of Structure: other

Other: Oil Refinery

Fire Date: 1/1/1921

Structure status: Plaque

Cause of Fire:
Spark


Documentation of the fire: [Web Link]

Construction Date: Not listed

Visit Instructions:
Give a narrative of your experience. Did you learn anything after reading about the fire in the waymark? Photos are always welcome too. Please no virtual visits.
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