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Flames Bar Rescue at Blazing Gusher Where 8 Met Death

The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

No Sound on Film | c.1931

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    Black smoke erupts from the conflagration
     
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    Firefighters suit up to battle the blaze
     
 
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"Fire fighters don asbestos suits to check spread of inferno through woods. Sinclair oil well in roaring conflagration as derrick floor explodes." [From original Universal Newsreel content sheet] This Universal Newsreel captures a raging oil well fire shot through the surrounding woods. Firefighters are shown putting on asbestos suits and other gear as they prepare to inspect the blaze. The oil derrick is likely the Sinclair Oil Company's No.1 Cole well, located two miles southwest of Gladewater, Texas. When the well came in late April 1931, a spark ignited the gusher. M.M. and Harry Kinley, specialists in fighting oil well fires, were brought in from Tulsa, OK to consult. Firefighters wearing protective asbestos gear were able to approach the well and prepare a nitroglycerin blast in an attempt to blow out the fire. The well was finally brought under control two weeks after ignition. The incident ultimately killed at least eight workers and injured several more.