New Jersey.com reports that The Standard Oil refinery fire, at Constable Hook in Bayonne, began during a thunderstorm at 12:30 a.m. on July 5, 1900. Lightning reportedly struck the Bay View tavern and boarding house, sending flames to the nearby oil fields and setting off explosions in three storage tanks, each having a capacity of 40,000 barrels of oil. High-reaching flames and dark smoke soared to the sky with a 20-mile range of visibility. Firefighting materials and water had been under stress due to the fact that the leading up to the fire had featured 90-degree temperatures, sweltering humidity, and shifting winds that had started on July 4th. Within minutes after the fire began, the company siren sounded, bringing its own fire department and tugboats into action. Their strategy was to contain the fire, allowing the spillover of heated oil from the storage tanks to burn off. As firemen directed their hoses to cool the burning tanks with streams of water, employees at pumping stations siphoned off the oil into empty storage tanks. The tugboats moved the company ships and oil-filled barges away from its burning docks to safe waters. The placement of log "booms," forming a floating barrier, to protect New York Bay and the digging of trenches to receive the flowing burning oil were among the other tactics used to stem the fire. Bayonne's entire volunteer fire department joined in the exhausting effort with re-enforcements from Jersey City and Staten Island. Despite the constant intense heat, thousands of spectators flocked to the hazardous site arriving by foot, bicycles, crowded cars, trolleys and ferries. Finally, after 70 hours, on July 7 at 10:30 p.m., the fire burned out. It left behind a reported 19 injured and costs amounting to $2.5 million.
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