1892 Fire and Flood

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The following images of the 1892 Oil City Fire and Flood are from "The 1896 Derrick Souvenir Book".

Floods had struck the valley communities along the Allegheny river, French Creek and Oil Creek with regularity--but no one was prepared for the tragedy of 1892.  The main part of Oil City was a mass of ruins.  One of Oil City's greatest tragedies struck on Sunday June 5, 1892, leaving 60 dead, hundreds injured and homeless.  The fire, after the flood started about 11:30 a.m. on Sunday as rescuers were trying to remove people from the flooded areas.  Heavy rains and the washout of a dam 30 miles up Oil Creek had flooded Titusville and caused fires there.  The high water brought a leak in the naphtha and gasoline storage tanks which floated in a yellow mass on the creek.  Suddenly an explosion sent flames 70 feet into the air.  A second explosion followed and then a third.  All who could, fled to the hills, while others tried to fight the fire and perform heroic acts of rescue.

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