On this Date in History: July 23, 1984

Contributed by Stephanie Lange

It has been 11 years since the day nearby residents say they “felt the ground shake.”  Seventeen people were killed in what is still considered the nation’s second worst oil refinery disaster. On July 23, 1984, the Union Oil Company Refinery experienced an explosion that sent a 34-ton tower flying into a small field just beyond nearby houses.  Around 6 p.m, a worker had noticed a hairline crack in a high pressure tower with gas vapors escaping from it.  The worker tried to shut the tank down, but the vapors ignited from an unknown source before he was successful.
Consequently, much of the refinery was engulfed in flames.  A second explosion Continue reading “On this Date in History: July 23, 1984” »

On this Date in History: May 28, 1977

  BevHillsClub

Contributed by Stephanie Lange

The Beverly Hills Supper Club fire in Southgate, Kentucky, occurred May 28, 1977, during Memorial Day weekend. A total of 165 people died and over 200 were injured as a result of the blaze. It is the third deadliest nightclub fire in U.S. history. Ten miles outside Cincinnati, the Beverly Hills Club was a major attraction that drew talent from Las VegasNashvilleHollywood and New York, among other places. A popular nightspot and illegal gambling house as early as 1926; Dean Martin, an Ohio native, was even a blackjack dealer there. It was considered an elegant, upscale venue attracting talent and high-class patrons.   Continue reading “On this Date in History: May 28, 1977” »

On this Date in History: March 9, 1914

MAC building 2
101 Years Ago Today
Today marks 101 years since the deadliest fire in our hometown city, St. Louis.  The quick-spreading fire killed 30 men and destroyed the seven-story Boatmen’s Bank building at Washington Avenue and Fourth Street.  Boatmen’s Bank built the building in 1890 and had offices on the first floor.   The rest of the building was occupied by the Missouri Athletic Club (MAC), founded in 1903. The men’s club remodeled to house dining and meeting spaces, a gym and swimming pool, a Turkish bath, barber shop, bar, and an area of small sleeping rooms, all made of wood, for 97 members and guests on the fifth and sixth floors.  Most of the victims of the fire were trapped there or died trying to escape.  About 90 members, guests, and employees were in the building at the time of the fire, though the desk registry was destroyed so no one can be sure.

Continue reading “On this Date in History: March 9, 1914” »

On this Date in History: February 23, 1991

Contributed by Stephanie Lange

One Meridian Plaza Fire
Three Philadelphia firefighters lost their lives fighting the largest high-rise office building fire in modern American history at the Meridian Bank Building, also known as One Meridian Plaza. Twenty-four additional firefighters were injured. The fire extended from the 22nd up to the 30th floor, with an estimated $100 million in direct property damage. Twelve-alarms brought 51 engine companies and over 300 firefighters to the scene.

Construction on the 38-story Meridian Bank Building began in 1968 and was completed for occupancy in 1973. The building’s fire protection systems was upgraded around 1988. Manual pull fire alarms were replaced by automatic central station monitored alarms. The originally installed dry standpipe system was replaced with a wet system that was fed by Continue reading “On this Date in History: February 23, 1991” »